Canal body was ex-Eastenders star Gemma McCluskie


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The Independent Online

A former EastEnders actress was murdered and dumped in a canal after attending a high-profile hospital opening ceremony, detectives revealed today.

Officers stepped up their appeal for information after the headless body found in London's Regent's Canal was confirmed to be that of Gemma McCluskie.

Her 35-year-old brother Tony remains in police custody for questioning, a source confirmed.

Officers are reviewing CCTV footage of her attending the opening of the new £650 million Royal London Hospital, in Whitechapel, east London, last Thursday.

Detective Superintendent Fiona Mallon, who is leading the Scotland Yard investigation, said: "It is important that we piece together Gemma's movements from Wednesday February 29 until the discovery in Regent's Canal in Hackney on Tuesday.

"We also urge anyone with any significant information about this case to contact us as soon as possible. In particular we would like to hear from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity around her home address in Pelter Street in Bethnal Green."

The 29-year-old was reported missing to police two days after going missing.

Her limbless torso was found when a member of the public reported a suspicious object floating close to Hackney's famous Broadway Market.

Police divers are still searching for Miss McCluskie's remaining body parts.

The actress was pictured at the hospital event wearing a yellow long-sleeved blouse with a round neck, and navy-blue leggings. She was also carrying a two-toned Louis Vuitton bag with beige handles.

Her BlackBerry mobile phone which had a white case have not been recovered.

Friends of Miss McCluskie had been carrying out searches across east London and handing out leaflets.

Former EastEnders co-stars Natalie Cassidy and Brooke Kinsella both appealed on Twitter for help in finding her.

The actress played Kerry Skinner in the BBC soap on more than 30 occasions in 2001.

Her character arrived in Walford as a friend of Zoe Slater and the great-niece of the late Ethel Skinner. She briefly dated Robbie Jackson and got him to propose to her.

:: Police are urging any witnesses with information to call the incident room on 020 8345 3985 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.