Ex-EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie has been confirmed as the identity of a body found in a North London canal on Tuesday.
The body of the 29-year-old was spotted in the Regent’s Canal, however was missing her limbs and head. McCluskie, who appeared in over 40 episodes of the long running BBC One soap across six months in late 2000 into early 2001, was last seen alive on March 1st.
“Police were initially contacted by a member of the public who had noticed something suspicious floating in the water. The torso was recovered by divers from the Met’s Marine Support Unit” The Metropolitan Police state.
Police add they are currently searching through CCTV footage which shows McCluskie visiting a hospital opening in Whitechapel, East London.
“It is important that we piece together Gemma’s movements from Wednesday February 29 until the discovery in Regent’s Canal in Hackney on Tuesday.” Added Detective Superintendent Fiona Mallon.
“Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious around the Regent’s Canal area in Hackney, or who has any information, should call the Incident Room on 020 8345 3985. Alternatively, if you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.” The Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The Scotland Yard detectives are also looking for anyone who may have spotted suspicious activity near her home in Pelter Street, Bethnal Green.
Police divers have continued to search parts of the Regent’s Canal in the Broadway Market area in an attempt to recover the rest of her body parts.
A 35-year-old male, believed to be her brother Tony – who had appealed for information on her whereabouts in ‘missing posters’, has been arrested on suspicion of her murder. He remains in custody.
EastEnders co-star Brooke Kinsella, who has been a high profile face against knife crime following the murder of her brother Ben in 2008, paid tribute to her fellow ex-soap-star on social site Twitter, “Thinking of you Gemma. I am so so sorry. Despair of the world we live in sometimes. RIP darling xxx.”
The extended family of mainstay character Ethel Skinner arrived in September 2000 when Eddie came to pay his respects to his aunt at her funeral. McCluskie’s character of Kerry – Eddie’s daughter – was first seen a couple of weeks later appearing as a friend of Zoe Slater.
Robbie Jackson proposed to her but she called off the engagement when it was revealed she’d cheated on him with a guy named Luke while on holiday, she ran off into the night and was never seen again. The ‘new era’ Skinners failed to warm with viewers and Eddie – played by Richard Vanstone – and Kerry were both written out after their six month contracts ended.
In 1976 soap actress Jo Richardson, and her husband, were brutally murdered while on holiday abroad. At the time authorities allegedly covered up the robbery and murder incident to protect the recent tourist trade take-off in the Seychelles. The incident was publicly noted as being a ‘tragic boating accident’ as Richardson was still a current high profile actress in ATV soap Crossroads at that time.