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Gemma McCluskie: Friend of EastEnders actress says she wanted brother Tony to move out

PUBLISHED: 13:15 15 January 2013 | UPDATED: 13:37 15 January 2013

Gemma McCluskie is described as a

Gemma McCluskie is described as a "bubbly, strong, independent and responsible" woman, who would normally let friends and family know where she is.

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EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie was so annoyed by her pot-smoking brother on the day she was killed she wanted to ‘chuck him out’ of the family home, a court heard today (TUES).

The 29 year-old barmaid told a friend that Tony McCluskie, 35, had left the taps running and flooded the bathroom because he was using so much skunk, jurors were told.

They were living alone at the flat in Pelter Street, Bethnal Green, at the time because their seriously-ill mother was in hospital with MRSA after an operation to remove a brain tumour.

Erica Stephenson told the court: “She was very annoyed, verging on angry. Her mother had left her in charge and she was sick of him smoking so much, that’s why he overflowed the bath. She wanted to chuck him out.”

Ms Stephenson said she tried to convince Gemma not to throw Tony out of the house during the chat at her home on March 1 last year, the same day that Gemma later went missing.

“I said ’Well give him another chance, anyone can make a sort of accident, give him one more warning and leave it at that.But she was quite adamant. She seemed to have made her mind up.”

Gemma left her friend’s home in Mile End just before 2pm to return to the flat in Pelter Street and was never seen alive again, the court heard.

It is claimed Tony McCluskie killed his sister within an hour of her return and then cut her body up with a meat cleaver.

CCTV cameras captured him taking the remains to the Regent’s Canal near Hackney the next day, March 2.

Gemma’s torso was found inside a suitcase floating in the canal four days later. Her arms and legs were recovered separately over the next two weeks but her head was not discovered until September.Ms Stephenson told the court that she found out Gemma had gone missing on March 3 and rang Tony McCluskie.

He ‘nonchalantly’ claimed that Gemma told him off when she arrived back home and he went to bed until 6pm. When he came down she was not there and her keys were on the table.

During another phone call he was crying and claimed he hadn’t been sleeping or eating.

“He said he was getting worried about her,’ said Ms Stephenson. ‘I invited him round for dinner if he was alone in the house.

“He said ‘’I will think about it.’’ I want to be here for Gemma.”

Ms Stephenson denied the suggestion of Tony McCluskie’s barrister that Gemma had taken cocaine during the visit to her flat.

“She didn’t even smoke a cigarette, let alone drugs,’ said Ms Stephenson. ‘Never in her life.”

Tony McCluskie, of Pelter Street, Bethnal Green, admits manslaughter but denies murder, claiming he ‘lost control’ during an argument and cannot remember anything.

The trial continues.

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