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

The brother of EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie has appeared in court accused of her murder.

The headless body of the 29-year-old actress, who played Kerry Skinner in the popular soap, was found floating in the Regent's Canal in Hackney, east London. She was formally identified on Friday.

The body was spotted in the canal near Broadway Market. It is thought that a distinctive tattoo led to the initial identification.

Tony McCluskie, 35, has appeared at Thames magistrates' court for a two-minute hearing. He spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.

A bail hearing is due to take place at the Old Bailey with a provisional date set for 26 March.

It is believed that the deceased had spent recent months acting as a carer for her elderly mother, whom she lived with along with the defendant, an ex-builder.

Flowers have been left near where the body was found.