Lavinia Woodward, an “extraordinary” Oxford University student who stabbed her Tinder date with a bread-knife, could be spared jail time after a judge said a custodial sentence would damage her future career as a heart surgeon.
Woodward, 24, swiped at her boyfriend with the blade before stabbing him in the leg. She then threw a laptop, a glass and a jam jar at him during a drink and drug-fueled argument at Christ Church college, Oxford.
The victim, believed to be a PhD student at Cambridge University, had begun dating Woodward earlier in the term after they met on dating app Tinder.
Woodward, who currently resides in Milan, Italy, previously admitted unlawful wounding at an earlier hearing. Judge Ian Pringle said the offense typically results in prison time, but he decided to delay sentencing and assigned her a restraining order to stay drug-free and not to re-offend.
Pringle told the court: “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.
Woodward’s name appears on articles published in medical journals including the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Hypertension, and The Journal of Physiology.
A source said that her ambition had been to cure heart disease, and added that she had come top of her year in the pre-clinical tests that all Oxford medical students take at the end of their third year.
“What you did will never, I know, leave you but it was pretty awful, and normally it would attract a custodial sentence, whether it is immediate or suspended.”
Prosecutor Cathy Olliver said that Woodward and her ex met online via a popular dating app and at the time of the attack, which took place on September 30, her behavior had “deteriorated.”
The victim called Woodward’s mother on Skype, which prompted Woodward her punch him in the face before assaulting him with the knife. In defense, James Sturman QC said his client’s dreams of becoming a surgeon were “almost impossible” as her conviction would have to be disclosed.
Struman argued that Woodward had had a “very troubled life,” struggled with drug addiction and even been abused by a former ex.