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Phillip Schofield breaks five months of silence to offer support to Holly Willoughby over ‘kidnap and murder plot’ – as sources claim ‘there is still a bond’ between the old friends despite former This Morning star’s lies over affair with younger colleague

Ex-This Morning host Phillip Schofield has broken five months of silence to reach out to Holly Willoughby and offer his support in the wake of an alle

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Ex-This Morning host Phillip Schofield has broken five months of silence to reach out to Holly Willoughby and offer his support in the wake of an alleged plot to kidnap and murder her.

Sources close to Schofield, 61 have said there is ‘still a bond’ between the couple as they claimed Holly was ‘really happy’ to hear from him.

The duo presented the breakfast show together for 14 years and were extremely close, until details emerged of Schofield’s affair with a younger male member of staff at This Morning, which he allegedly lied to Holly about.

It comes after Holly, 42, abruptly disappeared from the nation’s TV screens on Thursday after police informed her of an alleged conspiracy by shopping centre security guard, Gavin Plumb, 36, who it is claimed had been in touch with an American hitman.

Plumb appeared in court on Friday charged with offences including soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap, and the judge heard the plan was so far-advanced that the ‘hitman’, who has not been arrested or named, was due to arrive in the UK next week.

Holly and Phil pictured broadcasting This Morning together in May 2023

Holly and Phil pictured broadcasting This Morning together in May 2023

Sources close to Schofield, 61 have said there is 'still a bond' between the couple as they claimed Holly was 'really happy' to hear from him

Sources close to Schofield, 61 have said there is ‘still a bond’ between the couple as they claimed Holly was ‘really happy’ to hear from him

A source close to Schofield said Holly was ‘really happy’ to hear from Schofield, the Mirror reports, after five months of silence following the events of the past year.

Schofield was forced to quit the ITV show after it emerged he had lied to bosses about ‘an unwise but not illegal’ affair, and the pair are said to have not been in touch since.

The source said: ‘Holly and Phil’s friendship was so close before the events of this year. Phil’s decision to reach out, and the welcome it has been received with by Holly, shows that there is still a bond there.

‘The hope is they can regain some of the ground lost, and support each other again.’

It comes after a difficult week for Holly which saw police officers guarding the home she shares with her husband and three children, after the star was left ‘distraught’ by the horrific plot.

Holly was pulled from presenting the ITV show on Thursday just moments before going on air after police informed bosses about the alleged plot.

Alison Hammond replaced the 42-year-old to present the show alongside Josie Gibson.

The presenter, who is being guarded by police and a security team from ITV, has decided to take time off and is likely to be replaced by Alison Hammond or Josie Gibson.

This Morning insiders say that Ms Willoughby, 42, will not return to the programme until after the half-term break because she had a scheduled holiday then, as she does every year.

The distraught star’s decision came after emotional conversations with senior ITV executives on Friday.

Gavin Plumb, 36, appeared in court charged over the alleged plot in Essex on Friday

Gavin Plumb, 36, appeared in court charged over the alleged plot in Essex on Friday 

Ms Willoughby was pulled from presenting This Morning after it was claimed Essex Police found 'sinister messages' threatening 'serious harm' to the mother-of-three (pictured at the National Television Awards at The O2, in London, in September)

Ms Willoughby was pulled from presenting This Morning after it was claimed Essex Police found ‘sinister messages’ threatening ‘serious harm’ to the mother-of-three (pictured at the National Television Awards at The O2, in London, in September)

One source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘As the days go by, something like this doesn’t get any easier for Holly but it is difficult to think about any kind of work right now, let alone when your job is to present a live television show.

‘She needs to be around her nearest and dearest and take the right advice from the right people, too.

‘The This Morning presenters have been in touch with her and they will juggle covering her role for as long as is needed.’

Plumb, from Harlow, Essex, was pictured leaving court on Friday after being arrested at his flat on Wednesday, where he was found allegedly in possession of weapons. 

The father of two appeared in the dock at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Friday wearing a green T-shirt with the slogan ‘Aged to Perfection’.

He spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, address and where he worked.

He had allegedly arranged for a third party to fly to Britain next week and made a ‘detailed plan’ to execute their conspiracy.

According to the charge sheet, Plumb had ‘assembled a kidnap and restraint kit capable of encouraging or assisting the commission of the kidnap of Holly Willoughby’.

District Judge Caroline Jackson said: ‘Items were found at your home that would have been used to carry out the offences you are charged with.

‘The other party is abroad and preparations had been made for him to arrive in the UK next week. These are very serious allegations you are facing.

Plumb was remanded in custody by District Judge Caroline Jackson and will appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on November 3. 

Essex Police superintendent Tim Tubbs said: ‘This was an extremely fast paced investigation, with many of our officers and national partners working overnight to secure these charges.

‘The safeguarding of any victim is paramount and we will continue to prioritise this and working with the Metropolitan Police service as the investigation proceeds.’

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