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Oxford medical student who stabbed boyfriend in leg avoids prison

By Rod Minchin

A promising Oxford University medical student who stabbed her boyfriend during a drunken assault with a bread knife has avoided prison - meaning she could return to her studies.

Lavinia Woodward (24) received a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, for stabbing her then partner with the knife.

Woodward, a student at the university's Christ Church college, was to be sentenced earlier this year after admitting unlawful wounding, but the judge gave her four months to prove herself and stay out of trouble.

Oxford Crown Court heard Woodward was later admitted to a clinic for treatment for addictions to Class A drugs and alcohol, and an eating disorder.

The stabbing happened on December 30 last year when Woodward's partner, a Cambridge University student, visited her in Oxford. He realised she had been drinking and when Woodward discovered he had contacted her mother she became "extremely angry" and began throwing objects, before stabbing him in the leg.

At a previous hearing, Woodward, of Christ Church, St Aldate's, Oxford, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding.

James Sturman QC, defending, criticised media coverage of Miss Woodward's case, adding: "After the last occasion it was said she was too clever to go to prison. I have no idea where this came from," he said.

"She is not being treated leniently because she is intelligent - she is a very vulnerable, damaged young woman who will do all she can to put it right."

Mr Sturman said Woodward remained in a "dilemma" as to her career, but she could return to Oxford, take an academic research job or begin a PhD elsewhere. "The university remains supportive," he said.

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