31/01/2013 09:51 GMT | Updated 31/01/2013 10:16 GMT

Tony McCluskie 'Subjected Sister Gemma To Savage Beatings & Mental Torture' Before Murdering EastEnders Actress

A drug addict who murdered his EastEnders actress sister, had subjected her to two decades of savage beatings and mental torture, it is claimed.

On Wednesday, Tony McCluskie, 36, was told he would serve a minimum term of 20 years for the murder of his sister Gemma.

Tony was found guilty of murder by an 11-1 majority. He had admitted manslaughter.

Gemma McCluskie and her brother Tony

He murdered Gemma and mutilated her body in a bid to cover up what he'd done. Her remains were found floating in the Regent's Canal in east London.

A source told The Mirror: "She was petrified of him. He would beat her and mentally torture her, calling her all kinds of awful things.

"She would wear sunglasses because of the black eyes and I saw bruises up her arms where he attacked her. It was like he felt he owned her and he tried to control her."

Gemma 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, her brother lugged a heavy suitcase to a local cab firm and was last seen taking it towards the canal.

The skunk cannabis addict sent text messages to her phone after her death to pretend she was still alive.

Former EastEnders co-stars Natalie Cassidy and Brooke Kinsella also both appealed on Twitter for help.

After the verdict, McCluskie's father Tony said he will not desert his son.

Anthony McCluskie said in an impact statement that he knows his son is suffering after committing a "terrible crime".

Tony McCluskie senior had to walk out of court as the details of the murder were read out

In the statement his father 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."