Robert Cerqua found guilty of killing his twin brother

20/10/2014

Robert Cerqua, 31, was today found guilty at Winchester Crown Court of the murder of his twin brother Christopher, on 31 December 2013, in Southampton.

Following the conviction, Julia Woodward, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex said: "This case is a terrible family tragedy, in which Robert Cerqua, 31, killed his identical twin brother, in front of his parents in the family home on New Year's Eve.

"The jury at Winchester Crown Court heard how the two brothers would quarrel and fight sometimes, especially when drink was involved. There is nothing uncommon about fights between siblings, but the jury heard how the defendant had a temper and that not long before the fatal fight there had already been an incident involving a knife.

"Robert Cerqua in his interview said that he started to argue with his twin after having drunk a large amount of alcohol on New Years Eve. He described how his brother picked up a knife and that he then panicked. He didnt know if he had grabbed the knife off him or took another one, but remembered punching him, hearing his brother yelping and then running out of the door.

"Robert said that he acted in self- defence. However, the jury was shown the results of the post mortem. Christopher had no defensive wounds and no injuries that suggested that he had delivered the first blows. He had bruises to the face and as a result of his fall when he was stabbed. The fatal injury was a single stab wound to the abdomen, which pierced the aorta.

"After stabbing his brother, the defendant fled without even taking the time to put on a pair of shoes. He telephoned his friend who picked him up in their car and took him to friends house, where a New Year's Eve party was held. Robert had turned off his phone and stayed at the party until he was arrested by the police. At this stage he was very drunk.

"In the meantime, his poor parents had to deal with the tragedy that will change their lives for ever. As soon as, Robert left the home, his mother called 999. An ambulance crew and hospital staff did all that they could to save him but Christopher died as a result of the injuries he had sustained.

"There is little doubt that Robert Cerqua regrets that moment of anger when he decided to take a knife and stab his brother. However, the jury decided that it was not self- defence. It may be that he did not intend to kill his brother but it was the prosecution case that he was guilty of the murder of his brother as he intended to cause him grievous bodily harm which led to Christopher's death.

"Our thoughts go with Christopher and Roberts parents at this very difficult time."