Gemma McCluskie: Brother Tony today continued evidence to murder trial

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

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

The brother of EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie this morning (Tues) told jurors it was like a ‘nightmare’ when he realised he had killed his sister.

Window cleaner Tony McCluskie, 35, claims he cannot remember attacking the 29 year-old barmaid, cutting up her body into six pieces and dumping them in a canal.

He said he genuinely thought she was missing from their home in Pelter Street, Bethnal Green, and thought it was a ‘sick joke’ when police charged him with murder.

Tony said: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, it was some sort of sick joke. I couldn’t get my head round it.

“To me, they had the wrong person and I had no part to play in it.”

A month later he was re interviewed and shown CCTV footage of him taking the suitcase containing Gemma’s body to the canal.

McCluskie said: ‘It seemed like a nightmare to me. it wasn’t real, it wasn’t happening to me. I was in complete shock. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.’

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But it was only six months after the killing that he indicated to the court that he accepted responsibility for his sister’s death.

He told the jury: “They showed me all the CCTV, they had the evidence of a knife that was used, also the findings of the specialist and the evidence of blood being found at my address.

“I just couldn’t take it all in. I couldn’t believe it all - to me it was just a nightmare. It wasn’t happening to me. I never thought I could be responsible for doing such a horrible thing.”

In cross-examination, prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC suggested he was a ‘cunning liar’.

Mr Aylett said: “For all you can remember, somebody else could have come to your house, killed Gemma, chopped her up and then dumped her in the canal?’

Tony replied: ‘I’m not saying it couldn’t have happened. I don’t know. I accept responsibility from the evidence I have been shown.’

Mr Aylett continued: “Or have you simply done your best to meet the overwhelming evidence of your involvement but tried to wriggle out of your ultimate responsibility for her murder.”

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

It is claimed he battered Gemma over the head with a blunt object and then cut her body into six pieces with a meat cleaver at the family home.

On the night of March 2 he was caught on CCTV taking the remains in a suitcase to dump in 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 Kingsland Road by a barge owner.

Asked how he felt about the finding of the body, he replied: “Oh God. It was just a shock. I just couldn’t understand what I was hearing. I was sick.”

Tony who was sharing a flat in Pelter Street, Bethnal Green, with his sister admits manslaughter but denies murder.