As you may have heard during news bulletins yesterday, Tony McCluskie, the brother of former EastEnders star Gemma – whose dismembered body was found in Regent’s Canal in London – has been jailed for life for murder.
And following his imprisonment, police have now released further details surrounding her horrific death, as well as video footage of CCTV cameras that captured evil McCluskie dragging Gemma’s body first into the boot of a taxi – in a large bag – then along the canal where he was to dump her remains.
During the trial, it emerged that Gemma suffered years of sustained abuse at Tony’s hands, and friends of the star – who played the role of Kerry Skinner in EastEnders – revealed that she was “terrified” of her brother…
One of Gemma’s friends told the Mirror, “She was petrified of him. He would beat her and mentally torture her, calling her all kinds of awful things.
“She would wear sunglasses because of the black eyes and I saw bruises up her arms where he attacked her.
“It was like he felt he owned her and he tried to control her. The abuse had gone on ever since she was a kid.
“In 2004 we went out and she had black eye and she said Tony did it.
“When she saw how horrified I was she changed her story and said she had been joking but I knew it was true.
“The way he was with her just wasn’t right. I used to say to her, ‘He’s not your boyfriend, he’s just your brother.’
“It wasn’t natural. When we went out clubbing Tony would ring and ask where she was.
“She would say, ‘Don’t tell him I’ve been here.’ She didn’t want him to know she was somewhere meeting boys.
“He was very controlling and jealous. When he came out with us he used to hold her next to him really close.
“He acted like a possessive boyfriend and he didn’t want anyone else to have her. He hated her seeing boys.”
The paper adds, “Window cleaner McCluskie’s shocking violence towards his sister culminated in the fatal attack at the family flat in Shoreditch, East London, when she finally flipped and told him to leave.”
He then spent around three hours dismembering her body. Her torso and other remains were discovered at the beginning of March last year, a week after she was murdered.
After Gemma was reported as missing, callous McCluskie joined his brother Danny and a group of friends at a pub in nearby Bethnal Green to launch the hunt for the actress.
In court, it was revealed that he sent his sister a text which ended, “Love ya xx”.
While jailing McCluskie for life, judge Mr Justice Fulford told him, “You followed your emotions and battered your sister at least twice on the head sufficiently hard to depress her skull.
“Over a long number of hours you set about in an utterly cold-blooded and determined way to try to hide what you had done and you set out to point the finger of blame at others.
“You made sustained attempts, particularly to save yourself, to destroy at least an element of the reputation of your sister.
“And the effect Gemma’s death has had on your family and particularly your mother, has been profound.
“Gemma was, on the compelling description the jury heard, a young woman with a huge zest for life.
“She was a warm-hearted woman and loved dearly by a great number of people, as the gathering at the Bird Cage public house demonstrates. She will be greatly missed.
“Your sister may have been fiery on occasions but in my view she did not do anything that even begins to justify what you did to her.”
Here’s a news report containing that awful CCTV footage…