Lavinia Woodward refused permission to appeal sentence


An Oxford University student who stabbed her boyfriend in the leg with a breadknife has been denied permission to appeal her sentence.

Woodward can, however, still apply to have her case heard by a full court of two or three judges.

The 24 year old medical student was given a 10 month suspended jail sentence in December last year for inflicting unlawful wounding.

During proceedings last year, Oxford Crown Court heard details of how Woodward’s then boyfriend contacted her mother after realising Woodward had been drinking. She became angry, throwing a laptop at him before stabbing him in the lower leg with a breadknife and wounding two of his fingers in the process.

At a hearing last year, Judge Ian Pringle QC said he thought a custodial sentence would harm Woodward’s hopes of becoming a heart surgeon.

“If this was a one-off, to prevent this extraordinarily able young lady from following her desire to enter the medical profession would be too severe.”

Pringle’s comments caused controversy with the case sparking debate on inequalities in the justice system.

Concerns were also raised that the sentence was too lenient and would deter victims of domestic abuse from coming forward.

As he handed down the suspended sentence, Pringle said there were “many, many mitigating factors” and the injuries caused were “relatively minor”.

She received treatment in a clinic for addictions to Class A drugs and alcohol, and an eating disorder. She received praise from the judge for demonstrating a “strong and unwavering determination” to getting over her addictions.

Woodward has chosen to suspend her studies at Oxford until the end of her sentence. If she chooses to return, she will face a disciplinary procedure with a staff panel deciding whether she should be expelled.


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