EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie trial: Brother Tony slashed body 100 times, court hears

PUBLISHED: 14:44 17 January 2013 | UPDATED: 14:44 17 January 2013

Gemma McCluskie

Gemma McCluskie

submitted by police

The brother of EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie, standing trial for her murder, hacked her body apart with almost 100 slashes and blows using a meat cleaver and a knife, a court heard today (thurs).

Tony McCluskie, 35, may have become frustrated when he could not cut the body up with a thin blade and then turned to a heavier weapon to smash his sister’s bones apart, jurors at the Old Bailey were told.

He killed Gemma, who played Kerry Skinner in the TV soap, after a row about him smoking cannabis in the home they shared at Pelter Street, Bethnal Green, it is claimed.

He claims he has no memory of his sister’s death.

Jurors heard the body was cut up into five separate parts before it was dumped in a stretch of the Regent’s Canal near Broadway Market in Hackney.

The badly decomposed head was put in a plastic bag and then placed into a pink plastic sack before it was thrown in the water.

It had been nibbled by rats when it was recovered and could be identified only by dental records.

Professor Susan Black, one of the world’s top experts in body dismemberment, told the Old Bailey it was likely he began the process by trying to remove his sister’s right leg.

There were 45 injuries to the area caused with a fine blade such as a knife, she said.

“He has made 45 attempts to try with the knife then the cleaver was used,” Professor Black told the court.

There were a further six cleaver marks caused by the limb being hacked off.

“I think the most likely sequence of events is that the right leg was removed first,” Professor Black said.

She said he may have turned his sister’s body face down as he began the butchery, which could have lasted up to three hours.

In total there were 56 knife cuts and 39 hacking injuries to the body.

The cause of death was multiple head injuries which could have been caused by a weapon.

But pathologist Dr Simon Poole said he could not rule out the defence explanation for the head injuries.

Tony McCluskie’s lawyers claim there was a struggle in the bathroom and the victim may have accidentally fallen back and fractured her skull on the sink or taps.

“It is possible”’ said Dr Poole.

Tony McCluskie, who was sharing a flat in Pelter Street, Bethnal Green, , with his sister admits manslaughter but denies murder, claiming he ‘lost control’ during an argument.

The trial continues.

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