Brother in court over actress death
The brother of a former EastEnders actress has appeared in the dock accused of murdering his sister and dumping her torso in a canal.
Gemma McCluskie's headless and limbless body was discovered floating close to London's Broadway Market last week, days after she attended a high-profile hospital opening ceremony in east London.
Her 35-year-old brother Tony spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth during a one-and-a-half minute appearance at Thames Magistrates' Court.
Chair of the bench Cliff Lynn told the defendant a bail hearing would take place at the Old Bailey within the next 48 hours.
McCluskie, of Pelter Street, Hackney, nodded his head at the public gallery as he appeared in handcuffs, wearing a long-sleeved grey t-shirt, in the bullet-proof-glass encased dock.
Mr Lynn told balding McCluskie: "You are remanded in custody. A preliminary hearing has been provisionally set for March 26."
The actress, 29, who played Kerry Skinner in the BBC soap in 2001, went missing following the opening of the £650 million Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.
Friends launched extensive searches across east London in a bid to find her and former EastEnders co-stars Natalie Cassidy and Brooke Kinsella both appealed on Twitter for help.
Miss McCluskie's remains were discovered on Tuesday when a member of the public reported a suspicious object in Regent's Canal.
Miss McCluskie's character arrived in Walford as a friend of Zoe Slater and the great-niece of the late Ethel Skinner. She briefly dated Robbie Jackson.