A MAN who held a blade to the throat of a passer-by on the Itchen Bridge has escaped a jail sentence.

John Evett grabbed a young man who was walking across the bridge in the early evening with his girlfriend, Southampton Crown Court heard.

Then, holding a “credit card knife” to his neck, he said: “Give me all your money, your phone and anything you have got with you.”

Yet after his victim wriggled free, Evett simply walked off in the other direction as if nothing had happened.

Police soon caught him but in interview he could not remember what happened. Evett, of Spring Road, Shirley, later pleaded guilty to attempted robbery at the first opportunity.

However, the court was told how 42-year-old Evett – who had never been in trouble before – was mentally ill and had not been taking his medication before the incident in December.

He was also known to threaten to kill himself on the Itchen Bridge.

The court heard how his mental health took a slide in 2010 after the breakdown of his relationship and the loss of his job plus excessive drinking.

Judge Gary Burrell said he was prepared to give Evett “one more chance” and gave him a community supervision requirement for 18 months along with 200 hours’ unpaid community work and a night time curfew.