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Is headless corpse ex-soap star Gemma?

A MAN understood to be the brother of missing ex-EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie was being questioned today after police investigating her disappearance dragged a torso from a canal.

Detectives detained the 35-year-old after the limbless and headless body was discovered in Regent's Canal, east London, on Tuesday.

Officers had earlier expressed extreme concern for Miss McCluskie's welfare following her disappearance from Bethnal Green, east London, last week.

Her relatives and co-stars were said by a source to be "fearing the worst" as Scotland Yard carried out forensic tests on the remains yesterday.

The female torso was discovered close to Hackney's famous Broadway Market at 2.40pm.

It was unclothed and the arms, legs and head had been hacked off before it was found floating in the waterway.

Detectives said the suspect, understood to be Miss McCluskie's older brother Tony, remains in custody at an east London police station after being arrested in connection with the inquiry yesterday morning.

"At this early stage officers believe they know the identity of the victim but must await further forensic tests before formal identification can take place," a spokeswoman said.

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

Friends of Miss McCluskie (29), who starred in the soap as Kerry Skinner in 2001, had been carrying out searches and handing out leaflets.