Gemma McCluskie

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Gemma McCluskie
Gemma-McCluskie.jpg
Born (1983-02-05)5 February 1983
Disappeared 1 March 2012
Died 1 March 2012(2012-03-01) (aged 29)[1]
Cause of death
Beating[2]
Body discovered
6 March 2012
Regent's Canal, Hackney, London
Residence London[3]
Nationality British
Occupation Actress
Years active 1997–2001
Notable work(s) EastEnders
Height 4' 11"[4]
Relatives Tony McCluskie, Anthony McCluskie, Danny McCluskie

Gemma Rose V. McCluskie (5 February 1983 – 1 March 2012) was a British television actress. She was a regular cast member in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, in which she played Kerry Skinner. In March 2012, McCluskie disappeared from her home in East London and a few days later her body was discovered in the Regent's Canal. Her brother, Tony McCluskie, was subsequently found guilty of her murder.[5]

Career[edit]

McCluskie's best-known role was as Kerry Skinner in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, which she played for a year (2000–2001). In the soap, McCluskie's character was a close friend of Zoe Slater (Michelle Ryan) and the great-niece of Ethel Skinner (Gretchen Franklin).[6] She also had a part in the series No Sweat playing a bully named Janis.[7]

Disappearance and death[edit]

McCluskie went missing from her East London flat, where she lived with her brother Tony,[8] on 1 March 2012. It had been thought that she had last been seen at home with her brother during the afternoon, but an investigation uncovered a sighting of her going into a kebab shop around 8 pm.[9]

Former EastEnders actresses Martine McCutcheon, Brooke Kinsella and Natalie Cassidy tweeted about her disappearance in hope of getting information about her whereabouts.[7] The Twitter hashtag "#FindGemma" was used. A search party of 100 people was organised by McCluskie's cousins on 5 March, which was spread out from the east and south of London attempting to discover information related to McCluskie's disappearance.[9]

The headless torso of a woman was recovered from Regent's Canal in Hackney on 6 March.[6] On 9 March the police announced that the body had been formally identified as McCluskie.[10] On 10 March, a 35-year-old male was formally charged with her murder.[11] He appeared at Thames Magistrates' Court on Monday 12 March.[12][13] A preliminary hearing date was set for 26 March at the Old Bailey.[3] He did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody.[14]

On 10 September, police found a head in the same stretch of canal.[15] The Metropolitan Police confirmed the head was McCluskie's two days later.[16] On 28 September, Tony McCluskie, Gemma's brother, accepted responsibility for the death of the actress. McCluskie's funeral was held on 30 November at St. Monica's Church, Hoxton Square, East London.[17]

Trial and sentence of brother[edit]

The trial began on 14 January 2013 at the Old Bailey. During the trial it was reported that Tony McCluskie was a heavy cannabis user and that the siblings frequently argued. On 1 March 2012 Tony was alleged to have argued with Gemma about an overflowing sink and that she had told him to leave; he then grabbed her by the wrists, but claimed he had no further recollection of his actions. Her death was caused by being struck several times over the head with a blunt instrument. He then spent several hours dismembering her body and the next day CCTV footage showed him taking a suitcase containing her remains to dispose of in Regent's Canal. McCluskie initially admitted manslaughter but denied murder, citing a 'loss of control'. However, he was found guilty of her murder on 30 January 2013 and jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 20 years.[2][18]

Filmography[edit]

Television
Year Title Role Notes
1997 No Sweat Janis 18 episodes
2000–01 EastEnders Kerry Skinner 34 episodes

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gemma McCluskie: Friend of EastEnders actress says she wanted brother Tony to move out". East London Advertiser (UK). 15 January 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "EastEnders' Gemma McCluskie death: Brother faces murder trial". BBC News (BBC). 28 September 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b John Hall (12 March 2012). "Brother appears in court over Gemma McCluskie murder". The Independent (Independent Print Ltd). Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Rickman, Dina (8 March 2012). "Gemma McCluskie Missing: Police Divers Search Canal For Body Parts". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Rowland, Vicky (5 March 2012). "Brothers of missing EastEnders actress from Bethnal Green are seeking help from the East End community". East London Advertiser (Archant). Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Arrest after torso feared to be EastEnders actress found". BBC News (BBC). 7 March 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Brother of missing former EastEnders actress is arrested after police divers pull headless body from canal". Daily Mail (UK). 7 March 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  8. ^ Gemma McCluskie 'killed after sink row'
  9. ^ a b Nelson, Sara C (7 March 2012). "Gemma McCluskie Missing: Body Pulled From Regents Canal In Hunt For Former EastEnders Star". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Canal body is ex-Eastenders actress MuCluskie". BBC News (BBC). 9 March 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "EastEnders Actress Murder: Brother Charged". Sky News (British Sky Broadcasting). 11 March 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  12. ^ Brother of Gemma McCluskie Appears in Court Charged With Her Murder Metro, 12 March 2012
  13. ^ Brother of Ex-EastEnders McCluskie charged with her murder BBC News, 10 March 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  14. ^ Cooper, Rob (18 June 2012). "Gemma McCluskie murder: Former EastEnders actress' brother Tony will stand trial". Mail Online. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  15. ^ Hall, John (10 September 2012). "Severed head recovered from Regent's Canal where decapitated remains of former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie were found". The Independent (Independent Print Ltd). Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  16. ^ Davis, Margaret (12 September 2012). "Police confirm severed head found in Hackney canal belongs to ex-Eastenders actress Gemma McCluskie". The Independent (Independent Print Ltd). Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "Former Eastenders Actress's Funeral is held.". Daily Mail (Daily Mail). 30 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "Brother of EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie found guilty of murdering her and dismembering her body". Daily Mail (Daily Mail and General Trust). 30 January 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 

External links[edit]