Gemma McCluskie played Kerry Skinner in EastEnders

Gemma McCluskie's brother Tony McCluskie appeared at Thames Magistrates' Court yesterday and was remanded in custody.

The 35-year-old, from Hackney in London, is accused of murdering the former EastEnders star and dumping her body in a local canal.

Gemma, 29 - who played Kerry Skinner in 30 episodes of the BBC soap in 2001 - went missing after attending the opening of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

A limbless and headless female torso found on Tuesday 6 March was later identified as the actress.

Gemma shared a Bethnal Green maisonette with her brother and mother Pauline, 56, who is reported to be battling cancer in hospital.

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