A man who threatened to stab a stranger at a Merseyside rail station has been jailed for three years at Liverpool Crown Court following a British Transport Police investigation.

Jeffrey Paul Black, 36, of Moss Lane, Litherland, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery at an earlier hearing and was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday, 11 August.

The court heard how Black’s victim, a 20-year-old man from Berkshire, encountered him at Ainsdale station at around 6.30am on Sunday, 9 March, last year, when he asked Black which was the correct platform for London bound trains.

The pair briefly chatted before the victim moved to the end of the platform and settled down to sleep. He was woken around 15 minutes later by Black, who was holding a dart in his clenched fist and threatened to ‘puncture his lung’ if the man did not hand over £50.

After initially refusing to hand over the cash, the victim, believing he may actually be stabbed, offered to use his cash card to withdraw the money.

Black shouted at a passer-by for directions to the nearest cash machine. At this point the victim took his chance and explained what was happening to the passer-by who called the police and helped the victim escape from the station and away from Black.

Black was picked up in a nearby bus shelter after he approached a police car asking if officers were looking for him.

Investigating officer DC Martin Melia said: “This was a violent incident which Black’s victim believed would result in him being seriously injured if he didn’t comply with his demands. The assistance of a passing member of the public helped the victim to escape; had he not, the outcome may well have been different.  The sentence reflects the severity of the incident.”

“Thankfully violence on the rail network is rare, but will not be tolerated in any circumstances.”

“British Transport Police will continue to do everything in its power to make the rail network safe, but when incidents of this nature occur the Force will use all means available to bring offenders to justice.”

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