LONDON (AP) — A 36-year-old man was ordered to remain in custody after appearing in court on Friday in connection with an alleged plot to kidnap and murder Holly Willoughby, one of Britain’s most high-profile television personalities.
Gavin Plumb, a shopping center security officer, appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court, around 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of London, where he spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, address and where he worked.
He is charged with soliciting a man named David Nelson to commit murder, and incitement to commit a kidnapping between Oct. 2 and 5 in Harlow, Essex. The other man was due to arrive in the U.K. next week from the U.S., the court heard.
Plumb is due to appear at a plea hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on Nov. 3.
Earlier, Essex Police said the suspect was arrested on Wednesday “on suspicion of conspiracy to kidnap as part of an ongoing investigation.”
Willoughby, who presents the ITV network’s flagship daytime program “This Morning” and “Dancing on Ice” during the early months of the year, has been off air since Thursday.
“I’m so sorry to hear everything going on with Holly,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said while appearing on “This Morning” on Friday. “I just want to send my best to her and her family.”
Her colleague, Lorraine Kelly, also addressed the story on Friday’s episode of her own program, saying it was “very, very upsetting.”
ITV is providing around-the-clock security at the 42-year-old’s home alongside the police.
“This news has come as a huge shock to everyone at ‘This Morning’ and ITV,” an ITV spokesperson said. “We are providing all of the support we can to Holly and her family at this incredibly distressing time.”