A terminally-ill man thrown from his wheelchair by callous robbers who held a knife to his throat for the sake of just £2 said his ordeal made him think about ending his life.

The frail 7st 7lb cancer patient, 59, was attacked in broad daylight in a West Norwood street by three teenagers, who demanded cash before throwing him to the ground and trying to steal his electric wheelchair.

After failing to get it work they trashed it, causing more than £500 of damage, and goaded their distraught victim, boasting “Well if we can’t have it neither will you”.

Police investigating the attack called it a “despicable crime” because of the vulnerability of the victim and said the attack could easily have killed him.

In a disturbing interview with the Streatham Guardian, the West Norwood resident, who does not want to be named for fear of becoming a target to other muggers, said: “It has changed everything.

“I used to like going out in my chair, saying hello to people in the street. Now I shake and get nervous every time I think about going out.

“I can’t look at people without thinking ‘Will they harm me?’ It makes me wonder if I can go on.

“I was in bed and just thought ‘I just don’t want to wake up tomorrow’.”

The attack took place at about noon in Lakeview Road on Saturday, August 7.

The former street cleaner, who lives alone, said: “I remember three people coming from an alleyway.

“The next thing I know one of them has me round the neck, holding a large knife to me.”

One attacker squeezed his throat, making him choke, and demanded cash and other valuables.

Unsatisfied with the £2 he could hand over they shoved him to the ground – but he disactivated his chair so it could not be taken.

He said: “I was screaming. I asked them why they were picking on me.

“I told them to get a job. They said they robbed because they couldn’t find a job.”

The thugs fled after a man, who called himself Gerry, intervened.

He helped the man into his chair, which has now been fixed, and escorted him part of the way home.

Detective Sergeant Gordon Barclay, who is leading the investigation for Lambeth’s robbery squad, is keen to speak to him and anyone else who could assist the investigation.

He said: “This was a callous and despicable crime committed against an extremely vulnerable man.

“If he had fallen differently he could have banged his head, and we could easily be looking at a murder.”

The robbers were described as black and aged between 16 and 18.

One had very short hair or a shaven head, while the others had long corn-row hairstyles.

Anyone with information should call D Sgt Barclay on 020 8649 2439 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.