A KNIFEMAN who terrorised a nurse on a disused railway track in the early hours, has been jailed for six months.

Burnley Crown Court heard how drunken David Harrington, 24, had earlier been attacked on a night out and had armed himself with two knives and set off to find his assailants.

But his victim, a slightly built man in his 50s, walking home from a night out with his wife, was an innocent, total stranger and had nothing to do with what had happened.

Harrington wrapped his arm around the man’s neck from behind and held one of the six inch bladed weapons just inches from his face, leaving him petrified.

The hearing was told how after his ordeal on July 21, the victim couldn't sleep, had been referred by his GP for counselling and had even considered retiring from his job.

Harrington, then a Padiham window cleaner, fought back tears in the dock as Judge Jonathan Gibson told him: “Given the circumstances and the widespread concern about the carrying and use of knives, I'm afraid an immediate custodial sentence is inevitable.”

The defendant, a father-to-be, of Milton Street, Padiham, had admitted common assault and two counts of having an offensive weapon and had been committed for sentence by Pennine magistrates.

He had two previous convictions.

Judge Gibson said: “I’m afraid what you did was truly dreadful and you accept that by demonstrating remorse, it seems to me, to the court.

“Your victim was, not surprisingly, terrified and what happened has had a significant psychological effect upon him.”