Tony McCluskie, 35, the brother of EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter at the Old Bailey today, December 7.
McCluskie appeared in court via video link from Belmarsh prison. He claims to have ‘suffered loss of control’ leading to the actress’s death on March 1 earlier this year.
The body of Gemma, 29, was discovered five days after she went missing in the Regent’s Canal, with missing limbs and head.
McCluskie pleaded not guilty to murder followed by a guilty plea for manslaughter.
She went missing after attending the opening of the Royal London Hospital. Initially the defendant joined search parties with friends to look for her.
McCluskie was charged with murder on the 10 March and admitted responsibility for her death on 28 September but entered no plea until today. His barrister said that he “accepted responsibility for his sister’s death and his defence would be one of ‘loss of control’”.
Judge Gerald Gordon said that his plea meant a trial on the issue of murder or manslaughter would go ahead on January 14 2013.
Gemma played the character Kerry Skinner on the popular soap for over 30 episodes in 2001.
Former co-stars Natalie Cassidy and Brooke Kinsella appealed to the public for help during the search for Gemma earlier this year.