UK

Robert Cerqua Convicted Of Murdering Identical Twin Brother Christopher

20/10/2014 15:53 BST | Updated 20/10/2014 15:59 BST

A 31-year-old man has been found guilty of the murder of his identical twin brother who he stabbed to death in a "fit of temper" during a drunken argument at the family home on New Year's Eve.

Robert Cerqua was convicted of killing his brother Christopher by a jury of nine men and three women at Winchester Crown Court after almost 16 hours of deliberations.

The verdict was met with a cry from the public gallery but Cerqua showed no emotion.

The fight took place in the kitchen of the family house in Hythe, Hampshire, on December 31 last year.

winchester crown court

The jury at Winchester Crown Court convicted Robert Cerqua of murdering his twin brother Christopher

The judge, Mr Justice Teare adjourned the case for sentencing on Tuesday.

Nicholas Haggan QC, told the jury that Cerqua, who had been drinking, had been involved in an argument with his brother, who worked as a carpenter, which then turned violent.

He said that the parents of the siblings, Peter and Denise Cerqua, were in the property where both sons also lived, when the fight took place in the kitchen.

Mr Haggan said that Mrs Cerqua had dialled 999 to ask for police assistance and during the duration of the call, which was played to the jury, her husband called out to his wife asking for an ambulance before he shouted: "He's stabbed him".

The jury was shown photographs of the kitchen which showed several crushed empty cans of Stella Artois lager alongside party food.

Mr Haggan then described how the defendant fled the property bare-footed and called his girlfriend who took him to a friend's party where he continued to get drunk.

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He said: "The incident which led to Christopher's death occurred in the kitchen of the family home in Hythe where both their mother and father were present in the house.

"In a nutshell it was New Year's Eve last year, both brothers had been drinking, shortly before 9pm an argument started between the two brothers.

"That argument appears to have turned into a tussle, punches may have been exchanged, at some point this defendant picked up a kitchen knife and he used it to stab his brother Christopher.

"Having done so the defendant fled the family home, he didn't even stop to take the time to put on a pair of shoes before he left the house.

"He telephoned his girlfriend who picked him up in her car and took him to a friend's house where a New Year's Eve party was in full swing.

"The defendant turned off his mobile phone which meant that he could not be contacted by the police.

"He stayed at that New Year's Eve party until the police traced him to that address and he was arrested on suspicion of murder. By then he was very drunk."

Mr Haggan said that Cerqua inflicted a single stab wound to his brother's lower stomach which was about 17cm deep.

Mr Haggan said that the defendant told police that he had acted in self-defence.

He explained that DNA found on this knife matched both the defendant and his brother because, as identical twins, they shared the same DNA profile.

Mr Haggan said a blood test showed that Christopher had 230mg of alcohol in 80 ml of blood - almost three times the drink-drive limit- and Robert told police he had drunk six cans of lager and two glasses of red wine before leaving the house.

He also told police that he had a "fiery relationship" with his brother and drink could make him "nasty" and "short-tempered".