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Man arrested over alleged plot to kidnap and murder popular British TV host Holly Willoughby

A 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 east of London, where he spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, address and where he worked.

Plumb, 36, was wearing a green T-shirt with the slogan "Aged to Perfection," the BBC reported.

National Television Awards 2023 - London
Holly Willoughby arrives for the National Television Awards at the O2 Arena, London on September 5, 2023. Lucy North/PA Images via Getty Images

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."

"This was an extremely fast-paced investigation, with many of our officers and national partners working overnight to secure these charges," Detective Superintendent Rob Kirby of Essex Police said, per the BBC.

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."

"That's a terrible thing to be having to go through for her and her family," Kelly said, according to the BBC.

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."

The charges follow a turbulent few months for Willoughby who has been a host on "This Morning" since 2009, the BBC reported. Her co-presenter Phillip Schofield resigned in May and later admitted lying to colleagues about an affair with a younger colleague.

Willoughby said she would remain as a presenter, but took a break from the show during the summer.

The BBC approached Willoughby's agent and publicist to comment on the alleged kidnap plot, but they declined, directing all inquiries to the police.

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