Inside Holly Willoughby criminal Gavin Plumb's loner life – from fast food job to BBC show appearance

A security guard, who has been found guilty of devising "graphic" plans to kidnap, rape and murder TV presenter Holly Willoughby, was once interviewed by the BBC over struggling to work due to his weight.

Gavin Plumb, 37, was found guilty unanimously by a jury on Thursday 4 July of soliciting murder and inciting rape and kidnap, with the jury dismissing his defence that his plans were a "mere fantasy". They agreed with the prosecution that he was a "prolific liar who sought to minimise the extent of his criminality".

The defendant adopted the user name Big Bear online to chat to others about his plot and appeared to begin his plans as early as 2011 - when he googled the phrase "how to meet people who plan to kidnap celebs". The jurors were taken through a "sequence of events" documents which detailed Plumb's "appalling messages" to others about what he would do to the Dancing On Ice presenter.

While Plumb's conviction has been covered widely by the media over the last few months, he has appeared on the BBC website before in a 2018 interview about the struggles of being obese. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Plumb revealed that he "struggled to go further than his own doorstep" due to his weight, which reached 35 and a half stone at one point.

Gavin Plumb has been found guilty of soliciting the murder and inciting the rape and kidnap of Holly Willoughby
Gavin Plumb has been found guilty of soliciting the murder and inciting the rape and kidnap of Holly Willoughby -Credit:Kieron McCarron/ITV/REX/Shutterstock
Gavin Plumb was arrested in October last year and this week, a jury unanimously delivered a guilty verdict
Gavin Plumb was arrested in October last year and this week, a jury unanimously delivered a guilty verdict -Credit:Essex Police Handout

Speaking to the BBC, he said that he lost his job and stopped playing football when the weight "started to pile on". He added: "It's a vicious circle. When I'm depressed, I eat - and when I eat, I'm depressed. For a long time, I found it difficult walking around. But getting to the point of not being able to go out, that really crept up on me."

He went onto say that he couldn't go outside and hated the size he was. "I'm pretty much in pain everywhere. I get chest pains and I've just been told it's because of my weight. I'm scared that if I have something to eat or if I get up and I do too much, that's it, I'm done," he said. "My mum worries that they're going to come over and she's going to find me on the floor, dead from a heart attack."

Plumb had previously worked at McDonald's and Pizza Hut, but revealed that at the time of the interview, he had not left his flat since 2014.

In 2018, he underwent gastric sleeve surgery as a "last resort" and lost 22lbs in the first 10 days after the operation. At the time, he said that his main aim was to "get back into work".

According to the Daily Mail, Plumb was a convicted criminal at the time, having been found guilty of trying to force two women off a train with a fake gun in 2006 and attempting to tie up two teenager girls in a Woolworths stock room in 2008. There is no suggestion that BBC News was aware of these convictions at the time that the article was published.

As a result of the August 2006 offence, Plumb was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence and two years later, he served 16 months in prison for attacking two girls in the Woolworths stock room.

Speaking to Sky News, Plumb's ex-girlfriend Ellie Hoad - who he dated for three months in 2007 - described him as a "hermit" who played video games like Call of Duty. She said that he liked Batman and Star Wars and was "really quiet" but had a "good personality and a good sense of humour".

Plumb's neighbour Joanna added that she would occasionally hear him in the garden that backed on to hers having "unusual conversations" but thought that he was "building a gaming forum". She added: "Actually maybe it was alluding to something else."

Shopping centre security officer Gavin Plumb, 36, of Potters Field, Harlow, has been remanded in custody over an alleged plot to kidnap and murder former This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby
Gavin Plumb appeared in a BBC interview in 2018, opening up about struggling to leave the house due to his weight

During his trial, Plumb told the jurors that he spent 99.9 per cent of his life online. He began sharing posts of a sexual nature about Holly Willoughby as far back as 2014 and many of the messages he shared with contacts online were so depraved, they were not read out in court as prosecutors said it would have breached the ex This Morning star's legal right to respect for her privacy and may have contravened the Obscene Publications Act.

Plumb recorded chilling voice notes, detailing his plans to attack the TV presenter in her home, which she shares with her husband Dan Baldwin, 49. He said in one recording: "Plan of action - basically we're going to hit it at night, less traffic on the road etc, chloroform both of them, that way they can be easily restrained, pick out outfits we like then obviously take her and the outfits with us and then we're gone."

He joined a group called 'Abduct Lovers', which was being monitored by an undercover US police officer using the name David Nelson. After being sent pictures of Holly Willoughby, her home and Plumb's "kidnap kit", the officer contacted the FBI and UK police, who raided his flat in Harlow, Essex in October last year.

Speaking at Plumb's trial, Crown Prosecution Service specialist prosecutor Nicola Rice said that he "wasn't just a fantasist" but was "obsessed by rape and murder" and "posed a real threat to society". She added: "This wasn't just someone who was living in purely a fantasy world. He was encouraging others to assist him in the plan to take action."