Holly Willoughby – Man accused of plotting to kidnap and murder star pleads not guilty

Gavin Plumb, the man accused of planning to kidnap and murder This Morning's Holly Willoughby, has pleaded not guilty in a pre-trial hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court today.

The 36 year old security guard from Harlow is facing charges of soliciting to commit murder and incitement to kidnap.

The alleged plot to harm TV star Holly was said to have taken place between October 2 and October 5. Plumb was charged on October 6 and has been kept in custody since then. He appeared in court today for his plea and trial preparation hearing.

Holly, 42, was pulled from her This Morning duties after police informed the show's bosses of an alleged threat just before she was due on air. Alison Hammond stepped in to replace her, appearing alongside Josie Gibson. At the time, no reason was given for Holly's sudden absence.

Following the alleged plot, Holly was placed under round-the-clock police protection. She was reportedly left feeling 'distraught' by the incident.

After Plumb was charged, Superintendent Tim Tubbs of Essex Police said: "This was an extremely fast paced investigation, with many of our officers and national partners working overnight to secure these charges. The safeguarding of any victim is paramount and we will continue to prioritise this as the investigation proceeds."

Days later, Holly announced her decision to quit This Morning after 14 years.

In a statement shared on Instagram, Holly wrote: "I have let ITV know today that after 14 years, I will not be returning to This Morning. To everyone who has ever worked on the show over the years, thank you so so much. This such a difficult goodbye, you are incredible and I forever will be proud of what we've done together.

"Thank you to everyone at ITV for being supportive. To every guest who has sat on our sofa, thank you. Most of all, thank you to the wonderful viewers. You've been loyal, so supportive and the very best company every day."

"Richard and Judy said, 'We only look after this show, it will always belong to the viewers.' It's been an honour to just be part of it's story and I know this story has many chapters left to go. Sadly, however, I now feel I have to make this decision for me and my family. I will miss you all so much. Holly."

Holly was quickly showered with love and support from her celebrity pals. Vanessa Feltz wrote: "We will miss you so very much my darling," while Alison Hammond said: "This is a very sad day! Love you."

Rochelle Humes, who often steps in as a guest presenter on This Morning, added: "This is a sad day We love you x."

Guest chef Juliet Sear shared: "So sad to see you go Holly wishing you loads of positive things for your new chapter xxx it's been wonderful working with you for the last 8 years and making your birthday cakes too for the last 14 lots of love to you and your family xxx."

Another chef, Donal Skehan, chimed in with: "Always the most lovely host each and every time I was on with you- thank you for being so sweet over the years and onwards and upwards! Sending lots of love D xx."

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