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Gemma McCluskie: Brother Tony’s amnesia claims questioned in murder trial

17:25 23 January 2013

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Tony McCluskie in the dock at the Old Bailey. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Tony McCluskie in the dock at the Old Bailey. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Claims by Tony McClsukie McCluskie that he cannot remember killing his sister, former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie, were today called into question by an amnesia expert.

Window cleaner Tony McCluskie, 35, insists he cannot recall attacking the 29 year-old barmaid at their home in Pelter Street, Bethnal Green, before cutting up her body into six pieces and dumping them in a canal. He admits manslaughter but denies murder.

He says he can recall grabbing her by the wrists after she threatened to attack a former girlfriend and have her son taken into care - but everything after that is a blank, he claims.

Asked if he was pretending to forget what happened, bespectacled Tony McCluskie insisted: "No, I'm not."

He also claimed his sleep is so tortured by the memory of his sister that he wakes every night.

"There is not a moment of the day that passes that I do not think about my sister. I miss her so much," he said.

He added: 'I can't remember attacking her. I didn't have a weapon about me. I have never used a weapon of any sort."

Tony has claimed his sister made threats to him, his ex-girlfriends and his parents but he denied attempting to portray her as "a monster" and that he was a "creative and persistent liar."

But Professor Michael Kopelman, from London's St Thomas's Hospital who is one of the world's top experts on memory loss, told the court there was a problem with Tony claim to have suffered from amnesia.

"There are things that are reminiscent characteristics of the literature on these cases, but there have been inconsistencies in his account and there is a delay in reporting the amnesia,' the professor said.

Tony did not tell police when he was first interviewed that he could remember nothing of the killing or hacking his sister's body to pieces.

"He appeared at the beginning to give a vague account of what he had done on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday and then he said no comment," the professor explained.

"What he told me was he started to remember about the argument at the top of the stairs and grabbing his sister's wrists."

Asked if it was possible his story was true the professor said: "It is feasible that this might be the case for he might be amnesiac for the actual killing if not for the things that happened thereafter."

But he said it was matter for the jury to decide.

"There are features which worry me, "the professor added.

Tony claims he believed his sister was missing and thought it was a "sick joke" when police charged him with murder.

He says his last memory is of Gemma picking up a knife during a blazing row about him flooding the bathroom at their on March 1 last year.

The window cleaner was smoking 15 to 20 joints of powerful skunk weed a day and they had also rowed about his pot habit

It is claimed he battered Gemma over the head with a blunt object and then cut her body up with a meat cleaver

On the night of March 2 he was caught on CCTV getting into a cab with a large suitcase. He was later caught on film walking towards the Regent's Canal in Hackney.

Over the next few days he posed for a picture for a newspaper with an appeal poster during the search for Gemma.

On March 6 the torso was discovered floating in the water near Broadway Market by a barge owner.

The trial continues.

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