May 20 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Tony McCluskie has been found guilty of murdering his sister, the ex-EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie.
He was convicted by jurors at the Old Bailey by a majority of 11 to one. He had previously admitted manslaughter.
Miss McCluskie’s mutilated body was found floating in the Regent’s Canal in east London. She had been hacked into six pieces and dumped in a suitcase.
McCluskie, a 36-year-old window cleaner and skunk cannabis smoker, claimed to have lost control after a tirade of abuse from his sister.
He said the last thing he remembered was her coming at him with a knife.
But the prosecution said he killed his 29-year-old sister after she lost patience with him and asked him to leave the flat in Pelter Street, Shoreditch, where they lived.
The final straw came when McCluskie left taps running and a sink overflowed in March last year, the court heard. Miss McCluskie was killed that day.
The next day, McCluskie was seen lugging a heavy suitcase to a local cab firm and was last seen taking it towards the canal.
Miss McCluskie’s torso was found a week later when the case snapped open, and her limbs were found in black bags a week later.
But her head was not found for six months when it too was discovered in the water.
Miss McCluskie who played Kerry Skinner, the niece of Ethel Skinner, on screen in 2001, was immediately missed.
She was last seen attending the £650 million opening of the new Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
McCluskie joined friends who launched extensive searches across east London to find her.
Former EastEnders co-stars Natalie Cassidy and Brooke Kinsella both appealed on Twitter for help.
Miss McCluskie’s friend, Nicole McLaren, said she hugged McCluskie because she felt sorry for him as they searched for her.
But, said Crispin Aylett QC, prosecuting, McCluskie sent police on a wild goose chase after the actress was reported missing.
Miss McCluskie was identified by a small tattoo of a bow on her body and later by dental records.
McCluskie told police that his sister was seen in a local kebab shop after she went missing, and that she had visited their mother in hospital.
But scientists found blood in the bathroom and a blood-stained knife in the kitchen of the flat.