A train thug pressed a knife into a blind man’s stomach, kneed him in the face and demanded his watch.
The 23-year-old, from Garston, approached a man on board the train just two days after Christmas, punched him in the face and told him to give over his watch.
When the victim, aged 56, 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.
Fearing for his life, the man again resisted leading Donnelly to 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.
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At Liverpool Crown Court on January 26, Donnelly, of Stormont Road, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a bladed article.
He was jailed for five years for the knifepoint attack.
According to BTP, the victim has suffered significant trauma from the attack, including anxiety, nightmares and flashbacks.
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.”
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Greg Suligowski, Head of Communications at Merseyrail, said: “We work hard to ensure that our network is a safe and secure place for our customers and for our staff.
“We were therefore very concerned to hear that this serious incident had occurred on one of our train services and provided as much assistance as we could to the subsequent investigation.
“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.”