Gemma McCluskie: Police reveal how brother “blatantly” lied to avoid being suspected of sister’s murder
16:08 30 January 2013
Police have spoken of how they caught Gemma McCluskie’s brother Tony McCluskie, who “blatantly” lied and provided false leads in order to avoid being suspected of killing her.
McCluskie was today found guilty of the murder of the former EastEnders actress.
Investigating officer Acting Detective Chief Inspector John Nicholson, from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “The investigation into Gemma’s death was extremely challenging for all, no more so than for Gemma’s family and her many friends.
“No one can imagine quite how horrific it must have been to be told that Gemma had been murdered and that her body had been dismembered, only later to be informed that her brother was suspected as being the person responsible.
“Tony McCluskie tried everything to avoid having the finger of suspicion pointed at him, blatantly lying to police and his family, providing false leads, delaying others from providing crucial information, even sending text messages to his sister’s phone whilst she lay dead in the family home; all done in order to cover his tracks and avoid suspicion falling on him.
“The jury saw fit to completely dismiss his pathetic claims that he had amnesia during the period he struggled with, killed, dismembered and ultimately disposed of Gemma’s body.
“I would like to pay tribute to all those involved in the investigation including the British Waterways whose professionalism identified and recovered several of the discarded body parts.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to Gemma’s family who have maintained incredible dignity throughout the last year and during the trial in appalling circumstances.”
Gemma was reported missing after disappearing from the home in Pelter Street, east London, that she lived in with McCluskie and their mother.
Her disappearance on March 1 2012 was completely out of character.
Officers from Tower Hamlets police and her family and friends carried out extensive enquiries and a search, and McCluskie took part in including searching the streets en-mass, to find her without success. Window cleaner McCluskie took part in press interviews, pleading for help in tracing her.
On March 6 in the afternoon police were called to reports of a torso found in the Regents Canal near Broadway Market, E8. It was in a large suitcase which had been hit by a canal boat passing through Aston’s lock and then burst open.
The torso was identified as Gemma’s through a small tattoo of a bow, and officers launched a murder investigation.
McCluskie was arrested the following day and charged on March 10 with killing his sister.
Gemma’s arms and legs were discovered in the water after searches of the canal and on September 9 her head was recovered at Kingsland Basin.
Examination of the parts revealed numerous bruises to the arms and legs and injuries consistent with Gemma being struck over the head with an unknown blunt instrument.
McCluskie was quickly identified as a suspect and forensic analysis found traces of Gemma’s blood in the bathroom of the flat they shared. In the kitchen was a blood-stained knife.
Examination of the defendant’s mobile phone records showed he had called a local mini-cab firm on March 2 and CCTV showed him hauling a large heavy bag into the boot of a cab. He then asked the driver to take him to the Regents Canal.
He was further caught on camera dragging the bag along the canal.
Examination of the cab’s boot also found traces of Gemma’s blood.