Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Robert Cerqua jailed for murdering twin Christopher

Robert Cerqua (left) and his identical twin Christopher Image copyright Police
Image caption Robert Cerqua (left) admitted to police he had a "fiery relationship" with his identical twin Christopher

A man has been jailed for life for murdering his identical twin brother in a drunken argument on New Year's Eve.

Robert Cerqua, 31, stabbed Christopher once in the stomach at the family home while their parents were upstairs.

He fled the house in Hythe, Hampshire, without his shoes and carried on drinking with his girlfriend to see in the new year at a party.

Cerqua, who denied murder at Winchester Crown Court, must serve a minimum of 13 years.

During sentencing earlier, the court heard plasterer Robert had served previous prison sentences for offences of battery and affray relating to domestic incidents involving his former partners.

He also had previous convictions for motoring offences and criminal damage.

Image copyright 12715 MILLER Sonia
Image caption The prosecution said the stabbing, with the knife pictured, happened in a fit of temper
Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Christopher Cerqua was stabbed in the kitchen of the family home

The jury returned a majority 10 to 2 guilty verdict on Monday.

During the trial, Robert claimed self-defence after his brother had been threatening him with a knife, but the prosecution said the stabbing had happened in a fit of temper after alcohol had been consumed.

It was explained to the jury DNA found on the knife matched both the defendant and his brother because, as identical twins, they shared the same DNA profile.

Sentencing Robert, Judge Mr Justice Teare said: "You grew up with your brother and from time to time worked with him in the building trade. When you were both sober, it seems you got on well.

"But when each of you had too much alcohol, there was a risk an argument might break out leading to violence. That had happened before and it happened on New Year's Eve."

Denise Cerqua, the twins' mother, was in the house at the time and dialled 999.

At first she asked for the police because her sons were fighting but then said: "Can you get an ambulance as well? He's been stabbed."

Robert fled the house and continued drinking at a party where he saw in the new year.

He turned off his mobile phone but was traced by police and arrested in the early hours of New Year's Day.

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

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