Divers Search For Head Of EastEnders Actress

Murder Of Ex-EastEnders Star: New Arrest

Divers are searching a London canal for the head and limbs of EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie after a torso was discovered floating in the water.

Frogmen are trawling Regent's Canal in Hackney, east London, hoping to find the legs, arms and head of the former soap star, 29.

Miss McCluskie's brother, Tony, 35, is understood to have been arrested on suspicion of murder, just days after he circulated 'Missing' posters asking for help to trace her .

It is understood Miss McCluskie was living with Tony, who is currently being interviewed at an east London police station, until she disappeared last week.

"The smallest detail could be important," the posters read.

Scotland Yard said that divers were renewing their search of the canal after the limbless torso was recovered from the Broadway Market stretch earlier this week.

"Police were initially contacted by a member of the public who had noticed something suspicious floating in the water," a Met spokesman said.

"The torso was recovered by divers from the Met's Marine Support Unit and additional searches are due to be carried out in the water."

Miss McCluskie starred in the soap as Kerry Skinner on more than 30 occasions in 2001.

Her character arrived in Walford as a friend of Zoe Slater and the great niece of the late Ethel Skinner . She briefly dated Robbie Jackson and got him to propose to her.

After Miss McCluskie's disappearance, friends and family members carried out searches in the area and handed out leaflets.

Co-stars Brooke Kinsella and Natalie Cassidy both appealed for help finding her on Twitter.

Kinsella has become a prominent anti-knife crime campaigner since her brother Ben was murdered in 2008 .

She tweeted: "Gemma McCluskie has been MISSING from Bethnal Green since Thursday please get in touch if you have seen her."

Cassidy, who played Sonia in the soap, also posted: "Gemma McCluskie, missing since Thurs, if u have sn her/have any info PLS contact @CarlyKarma ... #FindGemma."

Sky's crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "Although there has been no formal identification of the body, Gemma McCluskie's family have been informed about the discovery of the body and police are working on the theory that it is in fact her body."

Neighbours of Miss McCluskie have reacted with shock following the discovery.

Margaret O'Carroll, 88, said: "I've seen Gemma grow up around here, this is terrible.

"She lives in that maisonette with her mother and one of her two brothers. She's very nice, a nice girl.

"I didn't know she was missing, then my son told me about a body being found. The whole thing is scary, dreadful."

Another neighbour, who did not give her name, fought back tears as she said: "I'm so shocked, this is not something you hear about every day."

Detective Inspector John Nicholson, who is leading the murder inquiry, has appealed for witnesses.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police incident room on 020 8345 3985 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 .