Security guard admits Willoughby kidnap and rape chats ‘massively regrettable’

A security guard accused of hatching a plan to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby has said online chats about the alleged plot are “massively regrettable”.

Gavin Plumb told a jury his discussions with a man who gave his name as Marc were “dark”, but insisted: “It wasn’t going to be any more than me and him chatting.”

He said he did not ask a man who turned out to be an undercover officer for “help” in carrying out the alleged plot.

Holly Willoughby
Holly Willoughby was the alleged victim of a kidnap, rape and murder plot (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The 37-year-old said he got a “rush of excitement” about keeping Ms Willoughby in a “dungeon”, but again insisted “I knew it was online chat”.

He said his words were a way to “get my gratification, move on”.

Giving evidence at Chelsmford Crown Court, Plumb said his WhatsApp communications with Marc were “not the kind of chat I would normally participate in”.

He said during his discussions with Marc, he conceded that when he said he needed to “follow her movements” and “set everything up”, he was talking about a “fantasy of setting up an abduction”.

Plumb agreed with his barrister Sasha Wass KC that his chats about Ms Willoughby “degraded her”.

Addressing the defendant in the witness box on Friday, Ms Wass asked: “What effect did your interactions with Marc have?”

Plumb replied: “Looking back at it now, it’s something that is massively regrettable because it’s not the kind of chat I would normally participate in.”

Questioned on how serious his crush on Ms Willoughby was, the defendant said: “It was… I don’t quite know how to explain it.”

Ms Wass went on: “How many times a day would you think of her?”

After Plumb said he was not sure, Ms Wass added: “Did you think of her every day?”

The defendant replied: “It would depend on how many times I would chat about her. Some days it would be once, some days it would be four, five, six times.”

Ms Wass asked if Plumb “ever ask(ed) for help from David Nelson”, the undercover officer, and the defendant replied: “No.”

He said he “never asked either him (the undercover officer) or Marc to travel”.

Ms Wass asked: “Did you imagine either of them were going to travel?”

Plumb replied: “No.”

The defence barrister asked the defendant how he felt about references in online chat to having Ms Willoughby in a “dungeon”.

He said there would be a “rush of excitement”, adding: “I knew it was online chat.

“It was chat online, get my gratification, move on.”

Ms Wass asked if Plumb “visited any premises with a view to keeping a hostage”.

The defendant replied: “No.”

After being taken to a part of his online chat with the undercover officer where he said he would jump over a wall outside Ms Willoughby’s house following a kidnap attempt, Plumb told jurors his “between 25-30 stone” weight meant he had “more chance of tripping over the step walking down”.

Ms Wass also asked Plumb about two bottles of chloroform he had bought, as she said: “Did you intend to use it to incapacitate anyone?”

The defendant replied: “No.”

The barrister continued: “Your ‘plan’… was incapacitating Ms Willoughby and getting her out of the house. How was that going to work?”

Plumb said: “It wouldn’t have done.”

He told the court he spent “99.9%” of his time online after being released from prison in 2010 for offences of false imprisonment.

Plumb also said that at one point, his weight was “ballooning to dangerous levels”, adding that he reached “35 stone and I was housebound”.

He told jurors: “I physically couldn’t move without being in pain or being breathless.”

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Gavin Plumb in a green top
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Gavin Plumb (left) (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Asked by Ms Wass if he ever left the house, Plumb said: “Only to go to the doctor’s or to hospital appointments.”

The defendant continued: “It was making me feel so low to the point I felt I didn’t want to speak to anybody because I was a burden because of my weight.

“I had to have members of my family come over to help me with my housework.”

He agreed that in 2018 he had an operation.

Plumb admitted to the jury he had purchased a “kit” from Amazon that included a whip, lead, shackles, blindfold and clamps with black rope.

Asked by Ms Wass if, by the time of his arrest in 2023, “any of this equipment (had) been used on anybody other than yourself”, Plumb replied: “No.”

The barrister asked Plumb: “Had you been involved in any sexual relationships using any of this?”

The defendant replied: “No.”

Plumb is accused of attempting to live his “ultimate fantasy” and has been described by the prosecution as someone who had an “obsession” with Ms Willoughby.

The defendant, of Harlow, Essex, denies soliciting murder, incitement to rape and incitement to kidnap.

The trial continues.