Gemma McCluskie
The former EastEnders actress went missing from her Bethnal Green home on 1 March

The brother of missing former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie has been taken into custody after police pulled a dismembered female body from Regents Canal in London.

The mutilated torso, which was spotted floating around in a stretch of canal near Broadway Market in Hackney, is feared to be that of the 29-year-old actress, who went missing from her east London home on 1 March.

Tony McCluskie, 35, was arrested following a raid of the East London home him and his sister shared by officers and remains in custody.

The young actress, who played teenager Kerry Skinner in the BBC soap in 2001, was last night described as a "happy go lucky girl" by a worried neighbour.

Friends and family also continued their frantic search for McCluskie, who was last seen at her home in Bethnal Green, by distributing "Wanted" posters on walls and lamp-posts around the East End.

Following her disappearance, Tony had told police that was "completely" out of character and she had never been missing before.

"We are going out of our mind with worry," he said. "She is a bubbly, outgoing, strong and independent woman."

Police confirmed that a full murder investigation has been launched.

"Enquiries are under way to establish the identity of the deceased," said the Metropolitan Police. "A post-mortem will be scheduled to ascertain the cause of death.

"Pending that post mortem we will be treating the death as unexplained."

Flowers have already been laid close to where the body was found. One note read: "Gemma, we will miss you always."