Brother held by police after torso of 'Eastenders star' is pulled from canal

 

The brother of the former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie is being held by police after a headless torso, believed to be the actress, was dragged from Regent’s Canal in East London.

Tony McCluskie, 35, her elder brother, had said that her disappearance was “completely'” out of character and that she had never been missing before. Before the torso find, he said: “We are going out of our mind with worry. She is a bubbly, outgoing, strong and independent woman.”

Sky News reported that Tony McCluskie remained in custody at an East London police station.  Police had not yet confirmed the identity of the suspect.

Miss McCluskie, who appeared in more than 30 episodes of the BBC soap as Kerry Skinner in 2001, disappeared from her home in Bethnal Green, last Thursday.

Her younger brother Danny joined more than 100 people who had been carrying out searches across east London and handing out leaflets.

Former co-stars Natalie Cassidy, Martine McCutcheon and Brooke Kinsella joined the Twitter appeal for help finding her.

Ms Kinsella tweeted: “Please get in touch if you have seen her.” Her phone had not been switched on since last Thursday afternoon.

A spokeswoman said: “At this early stage officers believe they know the identity of the victim but must await further forensic tests before formal identification can take place.

“Police were initially contacted by a member of the public who had noticed something suspicious floating in the water.

“The torso was recovered by divers from the Met’s Marine Support Unit and additional searches are due to be carried out in the water.”

A post-mortem examination was taking place at Poplar Mortuary as an incident room was opened in Barking. Detective Inspector John Nicholson is leading the murder inquiry.

McCluskie’s character was a friend of Zoe Slater and the great niece of the late Ethel Skinner. Skinner was written out of the Albert Square soap after the breakdown of a relationship with the character Robbie Jackson.

McCluskie was wearing a mustard-coloured top, blue leggings, dark brown Ugg boots and large sunglasses before she went missing. She is also believed to have have been carrying a small Louis Vuitton handbag with her.

Police were treating the death as “unexplained” pending the results of the post-mortem.

Witnesses are urged to call the incident room on 020 8345 3985 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee