Lavinia Woodward: Oxford student spared jail after stabbing boyfriend 'may be able to return to her studies'

The 24-year-old will be allowed to suspend course for 18 months, delaying any disciplinary hearing against her

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Sunday 22 October 2017 13:59
Lavinia Woodward attacked her ex-boyfriend with a bread knife at her university accommodation at Christ Church College
Lavinia Woodward attacked her ex-boyfriend with a bread knife at her university accommodation at Christ Church College

An Oxford University student who was spared jail after stabbing her ex-boyfriend may be allowed to return to her studies.

Lavinia Woodward, a medical student and aspiring heart surgeon, attacked her ex-boyfriend with a bread knife at her university accommodation at Christ Church College.

The offence would normally carry a custodial sentence, but Judge Ian Pringle QC handed down a 10-month suspended sentence in September, saying: “You are a clearly highly intelligent individual, you had an immaturity about you which was not commensurate for someone of your age.”

Now it has emerged the 24-year-old will be allowed to suspend her studies for 18 months at one of the university’s richest colleges, thereby delaying any disciplinary hearing against her.

A staff panel will only be able to consider whether she should be expelled once she states her desire to return.

Christ Church revealed in May that it warned Woodward that “any more drug-taking, or misconduct of any other kind, would indeed result in expulsion” after it was discovered she had been taking cocaine last September.

Reports that Woodward might be able to return to her studies were dismissed by a university spokesman at the time, who told The Sunday Times the comments “were the judge’s not the college’s”.

They added that there was “no guarantee of a return” and emphasised “the context is obviously extremely serious”.

The judge’s decision to spare Woodward jail sparked heavy criticism, with many questioning whether the same action would have been taken if the defendant had come from a less privileged background.

Martyn Percy, dean of Christ Church, told The Sunday Times: “I do not think [Woodward] is getting special treatment.”

Lawyers for Woodward said: “The disciplinary process at Oxford is for the proctors ... In due course that process will no doubt be concluded.”

The University of Oxford declined to comment on Woodward's case when approached by The Independent.

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