A shopping centre security officer has been remanded in custody over an alleged plot to kidnap and murder This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby.
Gavin Plumb is charged with soliciting a man named David Nelson to commit murder, and incitement to commit kidnap between October 2 and 5 in Harlow, Essex.
The charges indicate the defendant is accused of planning to assemble a “kidnap and restraint kit” and encouraging a third party to travel to the UK to carry out the alleged offences.
The court heard Plumb is alleged to have conspired online with another man and created a “detailed plan” to carry out the offences.
The other man was due to arrive in the UK next week from the US, the court heard.
Bosses at the ITV show were alerted to the alleged plot on Thursday morning and the presenter decided to pull out shortly before she was due to go on air, the Sun newspaper reported.
Willoughby’s ITV colleague Lorraine Kelly addressed the story on Friday’s episode of her programme Lorraine, saying it was “very, very upsetting”.
She added: “Of course we are sending Holly all of our love and best wishes, that is a terrible thing to be having to go through for her and her family.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also addressed the case as he appeared on This Morning on Friday, saying: “Before we get going, I’m so sorry to hear everything going on with Holly.
“I just wanted to send my best to her and her family, and to all of you.”
A spokesperson for ITV said: “This news has come as a huge shock to everyone at This Morning and ITV. We are providing all of the support we can to Holly and her family at this incredibly distressing time.”
Plumb, from Harlow, was remanded into custody by District Judge Caroline Jackson until a plea hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on November 3.