Holly Willoughby, a popular TV presenter in the UK, was reportedly the target of a kidnapping conspiracy by a 36-year-old man from Harlow. The man was arrested on Wednesday and is being questioned by detectives. Willoughby pulled out of her show This Morning on Thursday and her London home is being guarded by police.
Who is Holly Willoughby?
- Holly Willoughby is a 42-year-old TV presenter, model and author who has been working in the media industry since she was 14.
- She is best known for co-hosting This Morning, a daytime talk show on ITV, since 2009. She also hosts Dancing on Ice, Celebrity Juice and other shows.
- She is married to TV producer Dan Baldwin and has three children. She lives in a £3 million mansion in south-west London.
What happened to Holly Willoughby?
- According to The Sun, This Morning bosses were alerted to the alleged plot to kidnap Willoughby on Thursday morning and the presenter decided to pull out shortly before she was due to go on air.
- The newspaper reported that the suspect is not known to the star and that he had been planning the kidnapping for some time.
- Essex Police confirmed that they had arrested a 36-year-old man from Harlow on suspicion of conspiracy to kidnap as part of an ongoing investigation. He is currently in custody.
- ITV are also providing round-the-clock security and support for Willoughby alongside the police, the PA news agency understands.
How did Holly Willoughby’s fans react?
- Holly Willoughby’s fans were shocked and concerned by the news of the alleged kidnapping plot and expressed their support and love for her on social media.
- Some of her celebrity friends also sent her messages of solidarity and praised her for being brave and professional.
- Her co-host Phillip Schofield, who presented This Morning with Rochelle Humes on Thursday, said he was “sending all my love” to Willoughby and that he hoped she would be back soon.
- He also thanked Humes for stepping in at short notice and said she was “a joy” to work with.
How common are kidnapping plots against celebrities?
- Kidnapping plots against celebrities are rare but not unheard of. In some cases, they are motivated by ransom demands, extortion, obsession or revenge.
- Some examples of celebrities who have been targeted by kidnappers include:
- Frank Sinatra Jr., who was abducted at gunpoint in 1963 and released after his father paid $240,000. The kidnappers were later caught and convicted.
- Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped by a radical group called the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974 and later joined them in their crimes. She was captured in 1975 and sentenced to prison, but was pardoned by President Carter in 1979.
- John Paul Getty III, who was kidnapped by an Italian gang in 1973 and had his ear cut off when his grandfather refused to pay the ransom. He was eventually freed after his family paid $2.9 million. He suffered from drug addiction and health problems afterwards and died in 2011.
What are the legal consequences of kidnapping?
- Kidnapping is a serious crime that carries severe penalties in the UK. According to the Crown Prosecution Service, kidnapping is defined as “the taking or carrying away of one person against that person’s will by another or others”.
- Kidnapping can be prosecuted either as a common law offence or under the Child Abduction Act 1984, depending on the circumstances and the age of the victim.
- The maximum sentence for kidnapping as a common law offence is life imprisonment. The maximum sentence for child abduction under the Act is seven years imprisonment.
- Kidnapping can also be accompanied by other offences such as assault, false imprisonment, blackmail or murder, which can increase the severity of the punishment.
What will happen next to Holly Willoughby and her alleged kidnapper?
- The investigation into the alleged plot to kidnap Holly Willoughby is ongoing and no further details have been released by the police or ITV.
- The suspect remains in custody and will be interviewed by detectives. He may face charges depending on the evidence against him.
- Holly Willoughby has not made any public statements about the incident and it is unclear when she will return to This Morning or her other shows.
- Her fans and colleagues hope that she is safe and well and that she will recover from this ordeal soon.