Thug who hurled metal beer keg at woman’s head walks free

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A thug who hurled a metal beer barrel at a woman's head as she lay prone on the floor was today spared jail.

Luke Browne, 29, attacked Elsie Frost – an internet personality known as Banter Dancing Queen – in a Birkenhead pub.

Shocking CCTV footage showed the cocaine-fuelled yob grab the victim by the hair and drag her to the floor.

Browne – who has 57 convictions for 103 offences – then lifted the keg and threw it at the defenceless woman.

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But he walked free from Liverpool Crown Court after a judge said sending him to prison could impact on his cleaning business.

Luke Browne battered Elsie Frost, aka internet personality Banter Dancing Queen, in a Birkenhead pub

Nardeen Nemat, prosecuting, said Miss Frost went to Mr Whites sports bar, in Argyle Street, on February 6.

The victim – who is known for her viral videos and also works as an adult model – recalled consuming "about five pints, along with several shots" and described herself as being "drunk".

Miss Frost remembered chatting with three men, before she decided to go home because it was getting dark.

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Ms Nemat said she went outside and had a "verbal altercation" with some youths on bikes, during which she fell over.

Miss Frost then went back inside the bar and a short time later Browne arrived.

Ms Nemat said: "There is history between the two parties. She previously reported an assault by the defendant against her, two years earlier."

The court heard a barmaid and a male drinker tried to separate them, after Miss Frost first approached Browne.

Mr White's sports bar in Birkenhead

Judge Gary Woodhall said: "Both separately and more than once try and separate the complainant from the defendant."

Ms Nemat said the clip showed Browne pull the victim by the hair and assault her, causing her to fall.

She said: "Following that, the defendant picked up a metal beer barrel that was nearby and threw it at her head."

Ms Nemat said the victim was left concussed with blurred vision and bruising to her head, arms, legs and back.

In a victim statement, Miss Frost said she couldn't remember what happened during the incident.

She recalled Browne being aggressive towards her and said when she saw the CCTV she was "shocked".

Miss Frost said she suffered headaches, but when she went to hospital "thankfully the injuries were not too bad".

Her neck and back were sore, she was left paranoid and worried about going out, struggled to sleep and spent £500 on CCTV for her home.

The CCTV footage shows Luke Browne drag Elsie Frost to the floor

Miss Frost added: "In recent weeks I've been called a grass by associates of the person who assaulted me."

Ms Nemat said the victim's windows were smashed, but there was no evidence Browne was connected to this.

When arrested and interviewed, he gave a prepared statement, in which he denied even being at the bar.

He said he saw the CCTV on social media but it wasn't him and he had no idea why Miss Frost said it was.

However, Browne, of Ladybower Close, Upton, Wirral, later admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.

Ms Nemat said the victim was vulnerable as she was drunk, while Browne had "drunk heavily and taken cocaine".

His criminal record includes five offences of battery plus robbery, affray and assault causing actual bodily harm.

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He was last in court for dangerous driving in 2015, when he was jailed for eight months.

Paul Wood, defending, said the incident lasted "a matter of seconds" and urged the judge to spare him jail.

He said: "Her vulnerability has to be measured against her actions in starting this incident and we know what her behaviour was like beforehand – I suggest not particularly vulnerable in these circumstances."

Luke Browne can be seen lifting a metal beer barrel above his head which he then threw at Elsie Frost

Mr Wood said his client insisted the keg was empty and Judge Woodhall accepted it must have been at least close to empty, or "far more serious injuries would have been caused".

Mr Wood suggested the keg may not have made contact with her head and when the judge said it seemed to him it did, replied: "It's very hard to tell from the footage.

"One would imagine there could have been far more serious injuries if it had."

The lawyer said Browne "had a troubled upbringing" but had not been in trouble since 2015.

He said he now had a cleaning business, normally earned around £35,000 a year, and acted as a "father figure" to his girlfriend's twin children.

He said: "I would respectfully submit he's in a good solid relationship, he's been a responsible, family-minded individual usually, he's working hard and he's been staying out of trouble."

Judge Woodhall observed Miss Frost was "immediately back to her feet" after the attack.

He said Browne pleaded guilty on the basis she was aggressive first, he initially tried to move away, and she provoked him, which was not challenged by prosecutors.

The judge said Browne put forward subsequent videos the victim had posted on social media in mitigation, but said she was justifiably upset on them.

He said: "On any view Miss Frost, whether she provoked you or not, had been violently assaulted and had an attack on her home."

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The judge said a pre-sentence report found his previous response to supervision was good and references showed an improvement in his behaviour since 2015.

Judge Woodhall said the beer barrel, whether empty or not, "thrown towards the head of anybody prone on the floor is a significant weapon".

However, he said he had to bear in mind the effect of jailing him on his business and his employees.

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He handed Browne eight months in jail, suspended for 18 months, a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, 220 hours of unpaid work and a Resolve group work programme.

The judge told him to pay Miss Frost £900 in compensation and made a restraining order to protect her.