Oxford student Lavinia Woodward who stabbed her boyfriend with a bread knife could be spared jail for being intelligent

The uni say she could return next year

Lavinia Woodward, a Christ Church student, has been convicted of stabbing her boyfriend in the leg in September of last year. The 24-year-old could, however, avoid a custodial sentence because of her “extraordinary” intelligence and the likely impact it will have on her career.

The victim, a 30-year-old man, met Lavinia Woodward over Tinder and described Lavinia’s behaviour as having “deteriorated” by the time of the attack. She had developed a serious cocaine habit, the court heard. On the 30th September 2016, Lavinia – who dreamed of being a surgeon – swung a bread knife at the man and hurled a laptop and glass at him in a drug-fuelled row before proceeding to stab him in the leg.

Woodward pleaded guilty to the charge of unlawful wounding in the Oxford crown court, a conviction that Acting Judge Ian Pringle said would normally entail a custodial sentence. However, Pringle delayed sentencing for four months and said Woodward may not serve a custodial sentence because of her high intelligence and career prospects.

The judge deemed the impact it would have on her life and aspirations to be disproportionate and unfair. 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.”

Christ Church college have said they will readmit Woodward in October because she “is that bright”; inciting articles she had had published in medical journals. What sparked the attack is unknown but it is most likely a reaction to a call that Woodward’s boyfriend had made to her mother expressing a concern for Lavinia’s drug usage. Woodward is set to be sentenced on September 24th, and for now she has been given a restraining order and is required to stay drug free. Come October, she will then resume her studies at Oxford.

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