A top morning news anchor in the UK was promptly pulled from the air on Thursday after police uncovered an alleged plot to kidnap and murder the star reporter.
Holly Willoughby, 42, was “shocked and distraught” when Metropolitan police told her of 36-year-old Gavin Plumb’s plot just moments before she was set to go on air on “This Morning” Thursday, according to the Sun.
She remained off the air on Friday and was placed under police protection outside the London home she shares with her husband and three children.
A motive for the alleged kidnapping and murder plot is unclear, as authorities say Willoughby did not know Plumb — who is set to appear in court on Friday on charges of soliciting to murder and kidnap.
It is believed the police have seized the suspect’s phone and other devices, as a police vehicle remains outside his apartment.
“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 said in a statement to the Telegraph.
“The safeguarding of any victims is paramount and we will continue to prioritize this work with the Metropolitan Police Service as the investigation proceeds,” he added.
A spokesperson for ITV also told the Guardian: “This news has come as a huge shock to everyone at ‘This Morning’ and ITV.
“We are providing all the support we can to Holly and her family at this incredibly distressing time.”
Speaking about the incident on air Friday, Lorraine Kelly, Willoughby’s colleague, said it was “very, very upsetting.
“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.”
Even UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who appeared on the morning show Friday, offered his support to the news anchor.
“Before we get going, I was going to say I’m so sorry to hear about everything that is going on with Holly,” he said.
“I wanted to send my best to her and her family, and to all of you.”
The anchors who took over for Willoughby responded that they “appreciate” his message of support.