Gavin Plumb and Holly Willoughby

Gavin Plumb sentenced over plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby

'He will not be able to harm any more women'

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Gavin Plumb has been handed a custodial sentence for planning to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby.

Plumb, a security guard, was arrested last October. Earlier this month, he was found guilty of planning the attack on Holly.

Today (July 12), Justice Murray sentenced Plumb to three concurrent life sentences. He will serve a minimum of 15 years in jail.

Gavin Plumb's mugshot
Gavin Plumb has been handed his sentence for plotting to kill Holly Willoughby (Credit: Essex Police)

Gavin Plumb sentence

Handing down the sentence, Justice Murray told the court he had considered the impact of the case on women generally, as well as how Holly has been impacted personally and professionally.

“I have no doubt this was more than a fantasy to you,” Justice Murray told Plumb. “You always intended to carry out your plan to kidnap, rape and kill Ms Willoughby.”

He also revealed how Plumb intended to sexually assault Holly and then “slit her throat, wash her in bleach and dump her in a lake”.

Justice Murray then read out all Plumb’s previous violent sexually motivated offences. And he then revealed how he had come to his sentencing verdict.

The judge explained that he would pass concurrent sentences for those committed against Holly.

Explaining that Plumb poses a “significant risk” to women generally, he handed down a custodial sentence.

Plumb to serve minimum 15-year term

“I find that you are dangerous.

“I conclude that I must impose on you a sentence of imprisonment for life, which will in fact be three concurrent sentences for life. This is not a case where it is necessary to impose a whole life order – in other words, an order where there is no possibility of you being released. But accordingly I must determine the minimum term you must serve for each conviction.

“I have fixed the minimum term that you would serve is 16 years, reduced by the amount of time you have served in custody. This means that the minimum term you will serve before a parole board may consider your possible release is one of 15 years and 85 days.”

Holly Willoughby in a black dress at a red carpet event
Holly quit This Morning last year (Credit:

Holly Willoughby kidnap trial verdict

Last October, Plumb, 37, was arrested after plotting to kidnap, rape, and kill Holly.

Holly quit This Morning at the same time and didn’t return to the telly until Dancing On Ice earlier this year.

This month, Plumb’s trial began at Chelmsford Crown Court. The former security guard was accused of soliciting murder and inciting rape and kidnap.

During the trial, the court heard how Plumb had previous convictions for attempted kidnap. He once attempted to abduct two women off a train.

He also had two previous convictions for false imprisonment after holding two 16-year-old girls at knifepoint.

Holly Willoughby on This Morning
Holly returned to TV earlier this year (Credit: ITV)

Gavin Plumb found guilty

The court also heard how Plumb had been having graphic and sexualised conversations online about attacking Holly since December 2021.

In messages shown in court, Plumb shared pictures of Holly’s home, fake porn images of the star, and even discussed booking time off work to put his plan in action.

During conversations with an undercover officer he befriended online – who later alerted authorities about Plumb’s plans – the security guard shared pictures of a “kidnap kit” he owned. This kit included manacles and whips.

Holly Willoughby on Loose Women
The jury found Plumb guilty (Credit: ITV)

Holly Willoughby kidnap trial: Plumb found guilty

In court, Plumb said he was “sorry” for the contents of his messages. “I’m absolutely heartbroken, disgusted and shocked that it has come out,” he said.

He also added that it was nothing more than online chat “was never going to be anything more than a fantasy”.

However, Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC told the jury “It was not just the ramblings of a fantasist”. She also added that Plumb had carefully planned out what he would do and what items he would use to carry out the attack.

The jury unanimously convicted him of soliciting murder and inciting rape and kidnap.

Holly Willoughby breaks silence

Hours after the guilty verdict, Holly broke her silence.

In a statement, she said: “As women we should not be made to feel unsafe going about our daily lives and in our own homes. I will forever be grateful to the undercover police officer who understood the imminent threat, and to the Metropolitan and Essex police forces for their swift response.

“Thank you to the Crown Prosecution Service, the Rt Hon Mr Justice Murray, Alison Morgan KC, the members of the jury and all involved in this case for ensuring that justice was done and that the defendant will not be able to harm any more women.

“I would also like to commend the bravery of his previous victims for speaking up at the time. Without their bravery this conviction may not have been possible.”

Holly was not present in court for the sentencing.

Read more: Holly Willoughby kidnap suspect ‘almost messaged Phillip Schofield’ to ask if he wanted ‘payback’ over This Morning exit

Listen: Voice notes of security guard's 'plans to kidnap Holly Willoughby'

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Robert Emlyn Slater
Senior Writer