Canal body is ex-EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie

Gemma McCluskie
Image caption Ms McCluskie went missing last week

A female torso found in a canal in London is that of a missing former EastEnders actress, police have confirmed.

Gemma McCluskie, 29, was found in Regent's Canal in Hackney, east London, on Tuesday.

A 35-year-old man, believed to be her brother Tony McCluskie, has been arrested and remains in police custody.

Ms McCluskie, who starred as Kerry Skinner in 2001, disappeared from Bethnal Green, east London, last week.

Police said she was murdered and dumped in the canal after attending the high-profile opening of the new £650m Royal London Hospital, in Whitechapel on Thursday, 1 March, at 11:30 GMT.

She was reported missing to the police two days after going missing.

'Suspicious activity'

Officers are reviewing CCTV footage of her last movements from 29 February, while police divers are still searching for her remaining body parts.

Image caption Police have released CCTV footage to try to trace further witnesses

Det Supt Fiona Mallon, who is leading the investigation, said: "We also urge anyone with any significant information about this case to contact us as soon as possible.

"In particular we would like to hear from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity around her home address in Pelter Street in Bethnal Green."

As part of the appeal for further witnesses, detectives have released CCTV images of her at the hospital event.

She is pictured wearing a yellow long-sleeved blouse with a round neck, and navy-blue leggings. She was also carrying a two-toned Louis Vuitton bag with beige handles.

Police said her Blackberry mobile phone which had a white case has not been recovered.

Family and friends, including her former co-stars Natalie Cassidy and Brooke Kinsella, had appealed for help on Twitter to find her.

After hearing that it was Ms McCluskie, Ms Kinsellatweeted:"Thinking of you Gemma. I am so so sorry. Despair of the world we live in sometimes. RIP darling xxx".

Ms McCluskie's brother Danny McCluskie said on Twitter that he was "heartbroken", and thanked everyone for their support.

A post-mortem examination at Poplar Mortuary on Wednesday proved inconclusive, so further tests were carried out to formally identify Ms McCluskie.

Ms McCluskie's EastEnders character arrived in Walford as a friend of Zoe Slater and the great-niece of the late Ethel Skinner and appeared in more than 30 episodes.

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