Oxford student who stabbed boyfriend appeals sentence

Lavinia Woodward was spared custody, but was given a suspended sentence of ten months

Lavinia Woodward, Photo: Facebook

Oxford University student Lavinia Woodward has filed an appeal against the suspended prison sentence she received in September for drunkenly stabbing her boyfriend in the leg with a bread knife.

Woodward was convicted of unlawful wounding, and given a 10 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, by presiding judge Ian Pringle QC at Oxford Crown Court. She has applied to the Court of Appeal to review her sentence.

A spokesman for the Judicial Press Office told Cherwell: “Lavinia Woodward has submitted an application for permission to appeal. The next stage is for a single judge to consider the application on paper and if permission is granted it then the substantive appeal will be heard in court before three judges.”

The attack by the Christ Church medical student took place in December 2016 when her partner , a Cambridge University student whom she had met on Tinder, was visiting Oxford.

In the initial trial, judge Ian Pringle QC stated, “It seems to me that if this was a one-off, a complete one-off, to prevent this extraordinarily 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.”

Whilst Woodward’s lawyer, James Sturman QC, said these comments were later misunderstood and treated out of context, they led to accusations of judicial leniency and inequality, with Woodward being branded “too clever” for prison.

John Azah, chief executive of the Kingston Race and Inequalities Council, told The Daily Telegraph at the time: “If she wasn’t Oxford-educated, if she came from a deprived area, I don’t think she would have got the same sentence and been allowed to walk free.”

Whilst passing sentence, however, Pringle noted that there were “many mitigating features” which led to the judgment. He also noted that, “You have demonstrated over the last nine months that you are determined to rid yourself of your alcohol and drug addiction and have undergone extensive treatment including counselling to address the many issues that you face”.

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Pringle had deferred Woodward’s sentence for four months earlier in the year to allow for such an opportunity to show good behaviour. She has attended a drug and alcohol clinic and received care for an eating disorder.

Woodward, an aspiring heart surgeon, voluntarily suspended her studies at Oxford but could still return. Three complaints against the presiding judge Ian Pringle were dismissed on the grounds they did not concern his personal conduct.

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