Student could be spared jail for stabbing date because it could harm her career

A student at Oxford University who stabbed her boyfriend in the leg looks as though she could be spared a prison sentence.

Lavinia Woodward, 24, who wants to be a heart surgeon, punched her victim before stabbing him with a bread knife.

She also threw a laptop, a glass, and a jam jar at him at Christ Church College, Oxford while drunk and high.

Judge Ian Pringle told her that normally such an offence would mean a custodial sentence.

However, he added that to do so would be unfair because it might affect her career.

He said: ‘It seems to me that if this was a one-off, a complete one-off, to prevent this extraordinary able young lady from not following her long-held desire to enter the profession she wishes to, would be a sentence which would be too severe.

‘What you did will never, I know, leave you but it was pretty awful, and normally it would attract a custodial sentence, whether it is immediate or suspended.’

The court was told her college will allow her to return to the college in October because she ‘is that bright’ with articles published in medical journals.

Woodward did not attend court as she was in Milan, Italy, with her mum, the court heard.

Prosecutor Cathy Olliver said Woodward met her ex on Tinder and at the time of the attack, September 30, her behaviour ‘deteriorated’.

The student boyfriend called Woodward’s mum on Skype, and his then-girlfriend punched him in the face before picking up a bread knife and stabbed him in the leg.


Defending, James Sturman QC said his drug addict client’s dreams of becoming a surgeon were ‘almost impossible’ as her conviction would have to be disclosed.

But he claimed Christ Church will allow her to return to the college in October.

Woodward had a ‘very troubled life’ and had been abused by another ex, Mr Sturman said.

Woodward will be sentenced on September 25 and was handed a restraining order told to stay drug-free and not to re-offend.


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