James Donnelly, of Stormont Road, Garston, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a bladed article at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday, 26 January.
The court heard how on Sunday, 27 December, Donnelly punched his 56 year old victim in the face and demanded he hand over his watch.
When the victim, who is partially sighted, refused, Donnelly produced a eight inch knife and held it to his stomach threatening to ‘stab him up’ if he didn’t hand it over.
The victim, who feared for his life, resisted and Donnelly eventually put the knife back in his waistband and returned to his seat. He left the train at Liverpool Central where he immediately discarded the knife and was apprehended by station staff before being arrested by British Transport Police.
Investigating officer DS Ian Henderson said: “This was a cowardly and completely unprovoked attack on a man who was simply minding his own business. The victim has suffered greatly, both psychologically and physically, since this terrifying incident – he has lost confidence and suffers anxiety, nightmares and flashbacks. The injuries caused by the punch will require several visits to his dentist.
“In addition to this the victim has had to take time off work and, as he is self employed, has seen his livelihood directly impacted.
Case officer DC Dom Wilcox added: “The sentence handed down to Donnelly reflects the severity of this crime and the trauma he has caused to the victim.
“The railway is a CCTV rich environment and while in this case, Donnelly was apprehended immediately, it would only have been a matter of time before the CCTV led us to identify and arrest him.”
“Thankfully such incidents on Merseyrail are extremely rare and we are committed to working closely with British Transport Police to ensure this remains this case.”