Sunderland man attacked brother in row over ‘stolen invention’

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A LONG-standing dispute over an invention caused a man to attack his own brother in a Sunderland social club, leaving him cowering on the floor in tears.

John Sopp, 43, has held a grudge against his brother Andrew, who he claims stole his idea and lived off the proceeds, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Andrew had taken out an injunction against John and the pair had not met for years.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck, said that despite this, threatening messages had been posted by John on his Facebook page.

On September 22 the pair came across one another in a social club, where Andrew was drinking with a third brother.

“For no reason, John Sopp approached him and grabbed him, saying ‘Are you trying get me sectioned?’,” Mrs Beck said.

Andrew tried to push John away, the court heard, until the other brother dragged him away.

“He said he had put on Facebook that he was going to kick his head in on Boxing Day and he still intends to,” Mrs Beck added. “His brother was cowering down and had tears in his eyes.”

The court heard how a member of staff warned Sopp to behave, but he continued to threaten Andrew, before leaving the club.

Andrew Sopp said in a statement, read out in court, that the attack left him shocked.

“I know he is family but I’ve had enough,” he said. “Luckily my brother stopped him, otherwise it could be a lot worse.

Sopp admitted assaulting his brother as well as a racially aggravated public order matter, committed the same day.

He had shouted racial abuse at a member of staff at The Royalty News, near his home in Summerhill, Sunderland.

Jason Smith, mitigating, said: “There is a long-standing history between him and his brother concerning an invention that John maintains was his.

“He feels he has been used. Throughout his life he’s perfected this particular item and he’s stolen this from him and lived off the royalties.

“Unfortunately John is not capable of raising the money to go through the civil courts to get redress. Clearly upset by the sojourn with his brother, he comes across the second injured party, a person who owed him money.”

Sopp will be sentenced on Tuesday. Details of the invention were not revealed in court.