On Monday, a judge sentenced a 24-year-old Oxford student to 10 months of jail, but suspended the sentence for 18 months due her “relatively minor” crime of drunkenly stabbing her boyfriend twice with a breadknife in 2016. The judge explained he worried any harsher sentencing might damage her career.
Medical student Lavinia Woodward admitted to throwing a laptop at her boyfriend, stabbing him in the leg and injuring his fingers at her student housing at Christ Church College. She had been drinking at the time, and when her boyfriend contacted her mother over Skype, Woodward became angry, BBC reports. Woodward allegedly attacked her boyfriend, whom she met on Tinder, and attempted to stab herself before being disarmed by the man.
Judge Ian Pringle complimented her at an earlier hearing on her hard work as a student, saying she is “an extraordinary able young lady," citing her promising career and aspiration to become a surgeon. The maximum sentencing for her category two crimes is three years in prison.
"I find that you were genuinely remorseful following this event. Whilst you are a clearly highly-intelligent individual, you had an immaturity about you which was not commensurate for someone of your age,” Pringle said.
Woodward suffered from a previous drug addiction after a previous abusive relationship, according to BBC. Pringle said Woodward showed "strong and unwavering determination" to get over her alcohol addiction, and described the attack as “a complete one-off.” She was admitted to a treatment center for her cocaine addiction in early 2017.
The attack took place in December 2016 in Woodward’s residence with her boyfriend Thomas Fairclough. When he realized she was drunk and possibly had used cocaine, Fairclough contacted Woodward’s mother to ask for advice on what to do.
Woodward has already voluntarily suspended her studies, according to Christ Church College administrators. Now, the school will be responsible for determining whether she will resume her studies.
"It is clearly a matter of regret and sadness when any young person blights a promising career by committing a crime,” the dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, said. "The question of her future will now be decided by the University, which has procedures in place when a student is the subject of a criminal conviction."
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