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Willoughby plot accused gained sexual arousal from his ‘real’ plans, court told

Court Sketch by Elizabeth Cook

A security guard accused of masterminding a plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby is a “sly individual” and a “prolific liar” who gained sexual arousal from his “real” plans, a court has heard.

The prosecution in the trial of Gavin Plumb told a jury that they could tell it was a real plan because there is nothing “sexy or gratifying” about the “boring details” of his plot that he was outlining to potential accomplices.

At Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday, jurors heard the 37-year-old’s sexual motive was clear in his “appalling messages” to others online.

He 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.

During her closing speech, Alison Morgan KC said Plumb, who used the username “Big Bear” online, went to “great lengths to suggest to other people it was not fantasy”.

She said the defendant swore and said “it’s really happening” when an undercover police officer sent him an image of a flight booking.

Ms Morgan told the court: “These, members of the jury, were the defendant’s words when he realised that another person, who he believed to be called David Nelson, was genuinely prepared to join him in his plan to attack Holly Willoughby.

“When he believed that David Nelson had just booked a flight to travel from the US … to join in that attack – ‘it’s really happening’.

“He didn’t say: ‘Don’t do that, I was just kidding.’ He didn’t say: ‘This is just fantasy, you haven’t bought a flight have you?’ He didn’t say: ‘I don’t really trust you because the name on your flight booking doesn’t match with your username.’”

Ms Morgan also pointed to Plumb’s previous convictions which she said showed he had a “tendency” to commit acts aimed at controlling and terrifying women.

She told jurors he is a man that has “done this for real”.

Ms Morgan said: “He has terrified, subdued, threatened and detained real women against their will.

“He has carried weapons for that purpose. He has carried ropes for that purpose.

“Real people exist in the world now who were threatened and touched by this man and he was looking … to learn how to avoid those mistakes again.

“Looking to make sure that he didn’t fall into the errors that led to women being able to get away from him.”

Ms Morgan said the “boring detail” in Plumb’s online messaging is “what tells you it’s real”.

She told the court: “What’s sexy or gratifying about boring details?”

Ms Morgan gave an example of Plumb writing: “He can’t get time off until early February so when he gets them off we can get them off as well.”

The prosecutor said: “What’s sexually gratifying about booking dates and times off work?”

She continued: “These are boring details, they’re actually really boring, but they’re important as they show real planning.”

Ms Morgan added: “The boring detail is what tells you it’s real.”

She told jurors Plumb gained “sexual arousal” from creating his “real” plans.

The prosecutor said the defendant knew why police had turned up at his flat to arrest him – describing him as a “sly individual”.

Ms Morgan said: “I suggest to you that he is a prolific liar who has sought to minimise the extent of his criminality.

“What you see is a sly individual – he knows why police are there… he knows what he’s got hidden away and he knows what’s on his phone.”

Concluding her closing speech, Ms Morgan told the jury: “There is a nasty reality to this man – Big Bear, I don’t think so. Big Bear, hardly.

“He shocked even those who were prepared to fantasise with him.

“This defendant was intent on making this happen.

“He knew that it would be a far more likely or effective plan if he could recruit others to that cause – the more numbers he had the more effective it was likely to be.”

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

The trial continues.

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