Christ Church student who stabbed boyfriend avoids jail

Breaking: Lavinia Woodward, 24, will have her future at the University decided after being spared jail time

Lavinia Woodward, set to return to the College in September. Photo: Facebook

Lavinia Woodward, the “extraordinary” Christ Church medical student who stabbed her boyfriend, is to have her future at Oxford decided by the University after receiving a suspended jail sentence.

Woodward stabbed her then-boyfriend, a student at Cambridge University, in the leg with a bread knife after punching him in the face. She also threw a laptop, glass, and jam jar at him in the attack on 30 September last year.

The 24 year old gained national notoriety after crown court judge Ian Pringle QC in May appeared to suggest that she would not receive prison time, prompting tabloid headlines such as “too clever for prison”.

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.”

Pringle sentenced Woodward today to a 10-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, meaning she will not go to prison unless she commits another offence.

Woodward will not return to university this year, and is reported to be considering continuing her studies abroad, because she is now “too recognisable.”

In a statement to Cherwell today, Christ Church Dean Martyn Percy said: “We note that Lavinia Woodward has been given a suspended sentence as a result of her conviction for unlawful wounding earlier this year. As a College we are concerned for the welfare of all our students, and it is clearly a matter of regret and sadness when any young person blights a promising career by committing a crime.

“Ms Woodward is not currently studying at Oxford, having voluntarily suspended her medical studies. The question of her future will now be decided by the University, which has procedures in place where a student is the subject of a criminal conviction.”

Sentencing Woodward at Oxford Crown Court today, Judge Ian Pringle told Woodward: “There are many mitigating features in your case.

“Principally, at the age of 24 you have no previous convictions of any nature whatsoever.

“Secondly, I find that you were genuinely remorseful following this event and, indeed, it was against your bail conditions, you contacted your partner to fully confess your guilt and your deep sorrow for what happened.

“Thirdly, whilst you are a clearly highly-intelligent individual, you had an immaturity about you which was not commensurate for someone of your age.”


  1. “Woodward, who has a personality disorder, eating disorder, and drug and alcohol dependency…”

    Should not have been spared custodial sentence, and should be considered unfit for any career in medicine.

    Let’s hope that there will be an appeal against this extraordinary lenient sentence.

  2. It is alleged that the same judge who gave a light sentence to Lavinia Woodword did the same for a male student of the university. The question that must be asked: Would a student of Ruskin College Oxford or indeed the hard working populace of Oxford who are not connected to the University be given the same leniency?

    The sentence shows the void between town and gown when it comes to being treated fairly by the authorities. The sentence needs to be reviewed.


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