Thursday 8 March 2012

Police divers search for head and limbs of Gemma McCluskie

Frogmen from Scotland Yard's Marine Support Unit are in Regent's Canal in Hackney, east London, where the torso was found this week. Ms McCluskie's brother Tony is thought to have been arrested yesterday at his home in Bethnal Green, east London, where he lives with his mother and where his sister disappeared from last week. His mobile phone number was among those that appeared on a missing person's poster he himself helped circulate around the local area when Ms McCluskie disappeared. The limbless corpse was dragged from Regent's Canal by the Metropolitan police, with sources indicating it had been identified as 29-year-old Ms McCluskie. Relatives and former co-stars were said to be 'fearing the worst' while awaiting official results of forensic tests. Police sources said the unclothed body's arms, legs and head had been hacked off before it was found floating in the waterway. 'At this early stage officers believe they know the identity of the victim but must await further forensic tests before formal identification can take place,' a Met spokeswoman said. 'Police were initially contacted by a member of the public who had noticed something suspicious floating in the water. The torso was recovered by divers from the Met's Marine Support Unit (MSU) and additional searches are due to be carried out in the water.' The actress, who played Kerry Skinner for 30 episodes in 2001, had been missing since March 1, sparking a frantic search. Past and present cast members on the flagship BBC1 soap including Martine McCutcheon, Brooke Kinsella and Natalie Cassidy had appealed for information about the actress via Twitter and other social networking websites. Brooke Ms Kinsella tweeted: 'Please get in touch if you have seen her.' Ms McCluskie's brother Danny said her family was 'going out of our mind with worry' after she disappeared from her home in Bethnal Green last week. 'Her phone has been switched off since Thursday afternoon,' he said. 'We've not heard from her.' More than 100 people helped carry out a search for Ms McCluskie, with posters being put in shops and pubs while leaflets were handed out. A statement from Scotland Yard issued after the body was found said: 'A body was found in Regents Canal near Broadway Market in East London at 2.40pm. 'Enquiries are underway to establish the identity of the deceased. A post-mortem will be scheduled to ascertain the cause of death. 'Pending that post-mortem we will be treating the death as unexplained.'