Dad's tribute: small in stature, but huge in personality
Gemma's father Anthony McCluskie said today:
"This has been an extremely traumatic year for myself and my wife Carole, my son Danny and his partner Shantelle, Gemma's extended family and all her many friends.....To some of her friends Gem was known as 'Gemstar' or 'Li'l Gem', small in stature, she was huge in personality with a zest for life.
"Gemma was a daughter, a sister, an aunty, a cousin and a niece and is very much loved and greatly missed."
Police: no one can imagine the impact on this family
Investigating officer Acting Detective Chief Inspector John Nicholson said:
"The investigation into Gemma’s death was extremely challenging for all, no more so than for Gemma’s family and her many friends. No one can imagine quite how horrific it must have been to be told that Gemma had been murdered and that her body had been dismembered, only later to be informed that her brother was suspected as being the person responsible.
“Tony McCluskie tried everything to avoid having the finger of suspicion pointed at him, blatantly lying to police and his family, providing false leads, delaying others from providing crucial information, even sending text messages to his sister's phone whilst she lay dead in the family home; all done in order to cover his tracks and avoid suspicion falling on him.
“The jury saw fit to completely dismiss his pathetic claims that he had amnesia during the period he struggled with, killed, dismembered and ultimately disposed of Gemma’s body.
"I would like to pay tribute to all those involved in the investigation including the British Waterways whose professionalism identified and recovered several of the discarded body parts. I’d also like to pay tribute to Gemma’s family who have maintained incredible dignity throughout the last year and during the trial in appalling circumstances.”