Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Man held after torso found in canal

Police have recovered a headless torso from Regent's Canal feared to be that of Gemma McCluskie

A man understood to be the brother of missing ex-EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie is being questioned after police investigating her disappearance dragged a torso from a canal.

Murder detectives detained the 35-year-old after the limbless and headless body, feared to belong to the 29-year-old, was discovered in Regent's Canal, east London, on Tuesday.

Officers had earlier expressed extreme concern for Miss McCluskie's welfare following her disappearance from Bethnal Green, east London, last week. Her relatives and co-stars were said by a source to be "fearing the worst" as Scotland Yard carried out forensic tests on the remains on Wednesday.

The female torso was discovered close to Hackney's famous Broadway Market at 2.40pm on Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police said. It was unclothed and the arms, legs and head had been hacked off before it was found floating in the waterway, added a source.

Detectives said the suspect, understood to be Miss McCluskie's older brother Tony, remains in custody at an east London police station after being arrested in connection with the inquiry on Wednesday morning.

Friends of Miss McCluskie, who starred in the soap as Kerry Skinner in 2001, had been carrying out searches across east London and handing out leaflets. Co-stars Natalie Cassidy and Brooke Kinsella both appealed for help finding her on Twitter.

Kinsella, who has become a prominent anti-knife crime campaigner since her brother Ben was murdered in 2008, had tweeted: "Gemma McCluskie has been MISSING from Bethnal Green since Thursday please get in touch if you have seen her".

Cassidy, who played Sonia in the soap, also posted on the website: "Gemma Mcluskie, missing since Thurs, if u have sn her/have any info PLS contact @CarlyKarma ... #FindGemma."

The actress played Kerry Skinner on more than 30 occasions. 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.

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