Brother admits killing Eastenders actress

THE brother of ex-EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie, who was found dead in a canal, has accepted responsibility for killing her, the Old Bailey has heard.

Tony McCluskie, 35, will now face trial on whether her death was murder or manslaughter.

McCluskie, who lived in Hackney, east London, with his sister, had been due to face trial next month. However, it has been put back to 14 January.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ms McCluskie, 29, vanished in March this year.

She had just attended the opening of the new £650 million Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London, and was last seen in a Hackney kebab shop.

Her dismembered corpse was found a week later floating in Hackney Canal, just a short distance from her home.

Other body parts were found as the weeks passed.

Then, at the start of this month, members of the public discovered a bag in the water at Kingsland Basin. It was found to contained Ms McCluskie’s head.

The discovery was made in an area of the waterway that is popular with houseboat owners, close to Broadway Market.

McCluskie, who appeared by videolink at the Old Bailey yesterday, was remanded in custody.

His sister appeared in more than 30 episodes of the BBC soap opera during 2001, in her role as teenager Kerry Skinner. Her character arrived in Walford as a friend of Zoe Slater and great niece of the late Ethel Skinner. She briefly dated Robbie Jackson (played by Dean Gaffney) and got him to propose to her.

That part was her only high-profile acting role and it is thought she had been working recently as a carer for her elderly mother, who lived with her and her brother.

Her disappearance sparked a major search operation.

Fellow former EastEnders Martine McCutcheon, Natalie Cassidy and Brooke Kinsella had all tried to help the search via Twitter.