Dad vows to stand by son who murdered sister Eastenders actress Gemma McCluskie
It was a brutal murder that left all parents reeling with horror. Former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie was slain by her brother, Tony, who then butchered her body into several pieces and disposed of it in several locations around London.
It left us all asking: how could a brother do such thing? And then the question: how would you feel about such a son if he was yours?
Incredibly to many of us, the dad of both Gemma and Tony says he 'will not desert' his son, despite the horror of what he did to his 29-year-old daughter.
In an impact statement read out after Tony, 36, was found guilty of murder by an 11-1 majority jury verdict at the Old Bailey, dad Anthony said: "This has been the most trying time of our lives and the death of Gemma has been very traumatic for us all.
"The circumstances surrounding Gemma's death have had a great impact on my life both physically and mentally, and although in great sorrow, I have to remain strong for my son Danny and his wife, my wife, and my grandchildren.
"I also know that my son Tony Jnr is suffering too, and would like the court to know that I will not desert him even though he has committed this terrible crime and taken Gemma's life.
"I hope and pray that one day Tony will be released from prison with a better understanding of his actions and would ask the court to understand that as a parent, this is how I feel."
"I have watched my husband slowly become a broken man.
"There was always laughter in our house but now it is very rare. I force myself to go to work when I would rather be at home trying to protect my husband.
"We do look forward to seeing our grandchildren as this does help us to try to have a 'normal' life."
Gemma's brother Danny said he and his partner, Shantelle Lucey, had just become parents before the murder, and their happy life turned into 'an unimaginable nightmare'.
He said: "March 9 2012 is the day I was told that my sister Gemma was dead. "When they broke the news to me I was completely heartbroken and could not believe what we were being told.
"Since Gemma's death all of our lives have changed and I know things will never be the same again.
"Before this we were a happy family, we had just become new parents to a beautiful daughter and life was good. Now we are a family struggling to deal with this unimaginable nightmare.
"The whole thing at times does not seem real. We are still very much in shock and disbelief and unable really to come to terms with what has happened to Gemma.
"The different emotions you feel are draining and exhausting and at times consuming.
"Gemma is the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing on our minds as we try to sleep at night, which is hard as you constantly have these images in your mind.
"The pain of losing Gemma is still very raw. She was 29 and in the prime of her life. She still had so much to look forward to."
He said his mother is 'completely inconsolable' after losing her daughter.
"Our mother is completely inconsolable, she breaks down every day and tells me Gemma was her life and she doesn't want to live anymore without her.
"I don't know how to begin to make her feel better. I try to remind her that we love her and she needs to stay strong for her granddaughter."
Tony McCluskie was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 20 years at the Old Bailey in London.
The window cleaner and skunk cannabis smoker claimed to have lost control after a tirade of abuse from his sister.
The prosecution said he killed his sister after she lost patience with him and asked him to leave the flat in Pelter Street, Shoreditch, east London, where they lived.The final straw came when McCluskie left taps running and a sink overflowed in March last year.
She was killed by being hit over the head at least twice and her body was hacked into six pieces using a cleaver and a knife.
The next day, McCluskie lugged a heavy suitcase to a local cab firm and was last seen taking it towards the canal.
Gemma's torso was found a week later when the case snapped open, and her limbs were found in black bags a week later. But her head was not found for six months when it was also discovered in the water.