Wednesday 26 July 2017

Oxford student who stabbed boyfriend could avoid jail 'because of her extraordinary talent'

Oxford student Lavinia Woodward. Photo: Facebook
Oxford student Lavinia Woodward. Photo: Facebook

Lucy Pasha-Robinson

An Oxford University student who stabbed her boyfriend could be spared a custodial sentence because of her “extraordinary” talent, a court heard.

Aspiring heart surgeon Lavinia Woodward stabbed her Cambridge-educated boyfriend, who she met on the Tinder dating app, in the leg before hurling a laptop, glass and a jam jar at him during a drug-fuelled rage at Christ Church college, Oxford.

The 24-year-old admitted to a charge of unlawful wounding at Oxford Crown Court.

The offence would normally carry a custodial sentence, but Judge Ian Pringle suggested she may be spared jail because of her academic record.

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.”

Christ Church College will also allow her to return to her studies in October because she is “that bright”, having had articles published in medical journals, the court heard.

Prosecutor Cathy Olliver said Woodward’s behaviour at the time of the 30 September attack had “deteriorated.

The court heard how her boyfriend, who has not been identified, called Woodward's mum on Skype, and his then-girlfriend punched him in the face before picking up a bread knife and stabbing him in the leg.

Defending QC James Sturman said Woodward was a drug addict and her dreams of becoming a surgeon were “almost impossible” as her conviction would have to be disclosed.

He also told how Woodward had had a “very troubled life” and had been abused by an ex-boyfriend.

Woodward will be sentenced on 25 September. She was also issued with a restraining order and told to remain drug-free.

In January, she posted a photo to Instagram, with the caption: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she began to fly.#rehab #lifeworks #thepriory. Time for a new beginning.”

A spokesperson for Christ Church said: “I’m afraid that Christ Church does not comment on the circumstances of individual students.”

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