Former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie was beaten to death by her brother after a row over an overflowing sink, a court has heard.

Tony McCluskie had left taps on at the flat they shared and Miss McCluskie – who played Kerry Skinner, niece of Ethel Skinner, in the BBC soap in 2001 – thought this was the ‘last straw’.

The 29-year-old drove home to ask the cannabis-smoking McCluskie to leave, but was never seen alive again, the Old Bailey was told.

Crispin Aylett, QC, prosecuting, said McCluskie killed his sister, cut up her body and dumped it in the Regent’s Canal in east London.

He then led police on a ‘wild goose chase’ after reporting her missing in March, last year, jurors heard.

McCluskie, 35, of Pelter Street, Shoreditch, east London, has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his sister, but denies murder. He claims to have ‘blanked out’ after arguing with her and has no recollection of killing her, the court was told.

Mr Aylett said McCluskie told police that his sister had been seen in a local kebab shop after she went missing, and that she had visited their mother in hospital. But scientists had found blood in the bathroom and a blood-stained knife in the kitchen of the flat.

The court heard police discovered that a man with a heavy suitcase matching McCluskie’s description had taken a minicab to the canal the day after his sister disappeared. Blood was found in the boot of the car and McCluskie’s father and brother said they recognised him from CCTV.

Mr Aylett continued: “The defendant must have killed Gemma, no doubt in the course of a quarrel. He then dismembered her body before disposing of the body parts, including the head, in the canal.

“The defendant had seemed keen to help the police with their investigation. In fact, the defendant was leading the police on a wild goose chase.”