Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Brother guilty of murdering actress

Gemma McCluskie played Kerry Skinner in EastEnders
Gemma McCluskie played Kerry Skinner in EastEnders

The brother of former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie has been jailed for life for her murder.

Tony McCluskie, 36, showed no emotion as he was told at the Old Bailey that he would serve a minimum term of 20 years.

The judge said McCluskie had done everything he could to discredit his "hugely popular" sister's character during the trial. And he rejected claims by the skunk cannabis addict that she had pushed him over the edge by being mean to him.

McCluskie was found guilty of murder by an 11-1 majority. He had admitted manslaughter.

Miss McCluskie's dismembered body was found floating in the Regent's Canal in east London in March last year. Her head was found in the water six months later.

The 29-year-old found fame in the BBC soap in 2001 when she played Ethel Skinner's niece.

The verdict was greeted with gasps and cries by members of the family sitting at the back of the court.

After the verdict, Tony McCluskie Senior said he would not desert his son.

He said: "I know that my son, Tony Junior, is suffering too. I will not desert him even though he has committed this terrible crime and taken Gemma's life.

"I hope and pray that one day Tony will be released from prison with a better understanding of his actions."

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Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Capricorn:

Your dry humour will be very popular. It's always difficult bringing a large group of people together. Everybody feels like they are walking on eggshells. After cracking a few jokes, you'll put the group at ease. Resist the temptation to make fun of relatives, especially the more sensitive members of the group. Nobody likes feeling singled out. Watching a light hearted comedy can also be a great way to generate a festive atmosphere. This is a time when people can put their differences aside.More