A student who sent sick tweets about footballer Jack Grealish's dead baby brother has escaped a prison sentence.

Alfie Perkins, 19, asked the Aston Villa star 'where has your baby brother gone?' as he watched Villa play Birmingham City derby in March.

The Salford University student mocked the tragic death of Keelan Grealish on social media after downing nine pints of lager,  BirminghamLive reports .

Perkins was convicted at Birmingham magistrates' court of sending three offensive communications.

But shortly after leaving court he boasted on Twitter about escaping a prison sentence, writing: "At least I'm not doing up porridge."

He was pictured leaving court with a smirk on his face.

When challenged about being photographed smiling as he left court by a Villa fan, Perkins tweeted: "I regret all of it but she says this like nobody would be smiling after being faced with the prospect of prison and the end result being only having to pay £350. Wallop."

The offences happened on the day of the most recent Birmingham City v Aston Villa game, a Championship fixture which Villa won 1-0 at St Andrew's, with Grealish scoring the winner.

Perkins had denied the charges but was convicted a trial. He appeared to smile as he looked at his phone as he walked away from the court later.

The court heard Perkins, an accountancy and finance student at the University of Salford, had been drinking from 7am when he posted three tweets.

The tirade of abuse came minutes after Grealish was attacked on the pitch by a fan who ran from the stands.

One tweet showed a picture of the headstone of Grealish's brother, Keelan Grealish, who died in tragic circumstances as a baby.

The text on the tweet said: "He may have scored but will never bring his dead brother back and that brings me more satisfaction than anything else ever could."

Another tweet read: "Grealish went down quicker than his brother got lowered into the grave."

The third said: "Where's your brother gone? Come on!"

Simon Brownsey, prosecuting, told the court there was "no dispute" that Perkins sent the tweets but the court had to decide whether they would be judged "grossly offensive" by "any reasonable member of society".

John McGregor, defending, said Perkins accepted the comments expressed in the tweets were "sick" and he had not tried to hide them.

But he said it fell to the court to be the "moral arbiter" of what was said.

Perkins, of Chelmsley Wood in the west Midlands, was arrested on March 13 and told police he had been "encouraged" to post the tweets by those around him at the game.

He said he had drunk nine pints of lager – starting at 7am on the day of the noon kick-off.

But he told the court his actions had been "wrong" and he had "great respect" for Grealish, who he described as a "great footballer".

Perkins said he had not intended to offend the footballer and had not sent the tweets to him or tagged him in them.

He said he had been banned from Blues matches for life and had written to Grealish to apologise.

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