EastEnders' Gemma McCluskie 'hacked into six pieces'

Gemma McCluskie Gemma McCluskie's torso was dumped in Regent's Canal in March

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Former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie was beaten over the head and killed before her body was hacked into six pieces with a meat cleaver, the Old Bailey has heard.

Professor Sue Black, an expert on dismemberment, said it would have taken the killer at least three hours to cut up the body.

Tony McCluskie, 35, of Shoreditch, east London, denies murdering the 29-year-old and dumping her body parts.

He has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Miss McCluskie's torso was found in a suitcase in the Regent's Canal in east London in March followed by her limbs in plastic bags. Six months later her head was found.

Finger marks

The prosecution allege McCluskie, of Pelter Street, killed his sister after a row about an overflowing sink in the flat they shared.

Prof Black, from the University of Dundee, said Miss McCluskie's bones had 95 marks where they had been cut or hacked.

She said the killer had used a knife but switched to a meat cleaver when unsuccessful.

The professor also said it would have taken an experienced person an hour to cut the body up but anyone else could have taken up to three hours or more.

Pathologist Dr Simon Poole told the court Miss McCluskie died from being hit over the head with an object such as a bat.

She also had a number of bruises on her body from before she died, some which looked like finger marks from someone grabbing her.

Miss McCluskie played Kerry Skinner, the niece of Ethel Skinner, in the BBC soap in 2001.

The trial continues.

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