The brother of murdered former actress Gemma McCluskie has been found guilty of her murder and will serve at least 20 years in jail.
Tony McCluskie, 35, from Shoreditch was convicted by an 11-1 majority verdict at the Old Bailey today. He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murder claming he had lost control during an argument.
“This was an extremely distressing and violent case. McCluskie used all means possible to divert suspicion away from himself, giving false hope to family and friends,” said CPS London Chief Crown Prosecutor Alison Saunders.
“After committing the crime on 1 March 2012, he filed a missing person’s report and gave false information to the police.
“The strong case against McCluskie led to him admitting unlawfully killing his sister and he pleaded guilty to manslaughter, saying it was not intentional and that he had lost control.
“But the prosecution did not accept his plea to manslaughter. We felt that the evidence of brutality showed a deliberate intent to cause death or serious bodily harm to Gemma, which amounts to murder.
“CPS London will robustly prosecute offenders to ensure that convictions reflect the nature of the crime. Our thoughts are with those who have been doubly affected by this tragedy.”
Gemma, who was working as a barmaid at the time of her death, had clashed with her brother over an overflowing sink after he had left taps running at the flat they shared.
He beat her to death with a blunt instrument when she asked him to move out – he then cut up her body into several pieces before disposing of it in Regent’s Canal. Afterwards he led police on a “wild goose chase” in a bid to cover his tracks.
CCTV images showed McCluskie carrying a heavy suitcase, believed to contain body parts, to a minicab on the day after his sister’s disappearance.
The prosecution also revealed how the pair had been at odds over McCluskie’s use of cannabis and it’s most toxic form ‘skunk’ for some time.
Gemma, who played the role of Kerry Skinner in EastEnders, was reported missing on 1st March 2012 and when her torso was recovered from the canal, she was confirmed dead a week later. Other body parts were then found with her severed head being discovered some six months later.