Gavin Plumb pleaded not guilty to the charges of soliciting to commit murder and incitement to kidnap former This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby as he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday.
Plumb, of Harlow, Essex, attended a pre-trial and plea hearing wearing a grey T-shirt and spoke only to confirm his name, age, address and enter his not guilty plea, the BBC reports.
The charges allege that the security guard, 36, “solicited, encouraged, persuaded, endeavoured to persuade, or proposed” to murder the former This Morning presenter.
Plumb was remanded into custody by Judge Mary Loram KC and will face trial on June 24 next year.
It was alleged in court on October 6 that Plumb was found in possession of weapons and had contacted a hitman in the US to carry out the plot.
It is also claimed that he encouraged the US-based man to travel to the UK and had planned to “assemble a kidnap kit capable of encouraging or assisting the commission of the kidnap of Holly Willoughby”.
Essex Police arrested him on October 4 on suspicion of conspiracy to kidnap and he has remained in custody.
Holly, 42, quit This Morning last month after 14 years.
It was reported that the ITV show was alerted to the alleged plot minutes before Holly was due to go on air on October 5, leading to the presenter being replaced by Josie Gibson and Alison Hammond.
Friends of Holly said she had been left “shocked and distraught” by the case and an ITV source said her colleagues had been rallying around her.
A source from the broadcaster previously told the Daily Express: “Holly has got lots of friends in the business and they have all been sending her messages to show their love and support. Being in the public eye may seem glamorous but this sort of thing is every star’s worst nightmare.”
Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond, who co-hosted This Morning the following day, sent Holly their “love and biggest hugs”.
Dermot said: “We’re not going to talk much about it but we have to start with the story of one of our own”, with Alison adding: “We are obviously all shocked to hear the news and we want to send our love and biggest hugs to Holly and her family.”
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