Estate agency brothers’ feud over direction of business ends in court

A feud in a family-run estate agency spilled over into a blazing row, a court heard.

The relationship between Robert Reeve and his brother Phil, co-directors of Philip Andrews Estate Agents in Swindon, had been strained ever since the property market crash.

Business had been hit and a new direction was needed. Robert wanted to diversify into lettings, but his brother was not interested and did all he could to sabotage it, Swindon Magistrates Court was told.

Finally, last year Robert, 49, lost his temper and turned their office upside down, causing almost £5,000 in damage.

Days later, Philip barged into Robert, who shoved Philip in front of colleagues. Police were called and found Robert over the drink-drive limit as he moved his car in the office’s back yard to make way for the officer.

Robert was this week sentenced for assault, drink-driving and criminal damage offences.

Michelle Cope, for the defendant, told the court that the brothers had been at loggerheads since 2008 over the issue of lettings.

She said: “Philip didn’t agree and from then on he took every opportunity to undermine his brother.

“Over the course of this investigation the employees concurred that Philip became disruptive.

“Mr Reeve noticed his post was going missing and found his brother was intercepting it.

“Philip would sabotage the lettings side of the business. He would pull down marker boards, prevent specialist software being uploaded to the computers and damage his personal possessions.”

The court gave 12-month conditional discharges to Robert Reeve for the assault and criminal damage charges.

There was also an order made to pay £500 in compensation for the damage and £100 for driving whilst unfit through drink.

Reeve was not disqualified from driving because of the short distance he had moved his car, but he was ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

After the case, his brother Philip Reeve said: “The recession came and it was absolutely my drive forward. I have developed that side (lettings) of the business myself.

“You can ask any estate agent in the town and they will give you the right answer. I have 100% driven the business and never done anything malicious to the office.

“I’m the one turning up at 8am every morning. Why would I do anything like that?

“I’m saddened he feels the need to make up these accusations to hurt me. He knows they will hurt me. I have put my heart and soul into this business.”

The business was voted the town’s estate agent of the year by readers of the Swindon Advertiser.

Here’s how the paper reported the court case.


Homesearch EOS

Email the story to a friend


  1. livingproperty

    And people like this are allowed to own a business? Yes, I know the entire of business is filled with idiots like this, but really? I cannot understand why people would go to such lengths to destroy their own property, give the staff a reason to hate you, be afraid of your next move and not want to work for you, and in turn, disrupt any new clients that would potentially enquire.

    There is absolutely no hope for some people.

    1. Woodentop

      It is called stress, I can remember a number of agents committed suicide over the years, as has other business’s when things get tough. Some handle it better than others and family business’s do not have that “hold back” when you fall out with each other. Very sad.

  2. agentx

    I didn’t realise drink driving is only a criminal offence if you have driven over a certain distance? If you kill somebody in the first 10 ft of your drunken rage its OK I guess. Nonsense.

  3. Woodentop

    Actually you are liable for being in charge of a motor vehicle under the influence which doesn’t mean you have to be behind the steering wheel or even in the car! You could park outside a shop and be arrested inside if it is considered you are still using the vehicle. ie going to drive off in it when you leave.


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.