Oxford student Lavinia Woodward fights suspended sentence

  • 7 December 2017

Lavinia WoodwardImage copyright Facebook
Image caption Lavinia Woodward had ambitions to become a surgeon

An “extraordinary” University of Oxford student who avoided jail for stabbing her boyfriend is trying to appeal against her suspended sentence.

Lavinia Woodward, 24, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding at Christ Church college after drinking heavily.

Judge Ian Pringle QC suspended her 10-month jail sentence and at an earlier hearing said he believed immediate custody would damage her career.

She has now applied for permission to take her case to the Court of Appeal.

The case prompted a debate about inequality in the criminal justice system after Judge Pringle deferred her sentence to give her a chance to prove she was no longer addicted to drugs and alcohol.

He had described Woodward as “an extraordinarily able young lady” and said sending her to prison would damage her hopes of becoming a surgeon.

In his sentencing remarks he said there were “many mitigating features” of the case, and she had shown “a strong and unwavering determination” to rid herself of her addictions.

Woodward has voluntarily suspended her studies at Oxford until the end of her sentence, when she will face a disciplinary procedure if she decides to return.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Woodward stabbed her then boyfriend in the leg with a breadknife

Oxford Crown Court heard Woodward attacked her then boyfriend, whom she met on dating app Tinder, while he was visiting in December 2016.

She became angry when he contacted her mother on Skype when he realised she had been drinking.

She threw a laptop at him and stabbed him in the lower leg with a breadknife, also injuring two of his fingers.

Woodward then tried to stab herself with the knife before he disarmed her.

Judge Pringle said Woodward faced a possible maximum sentence of three years in prison for a “category two” offence of unlawful wounding.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) rejected three complaints against Judge Pringle in connection with the case.

A judge must now look at Woodward’s application and decide whether to grant her permission to appeal.

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