'Extraordinarily able' Oxford student gets suspended sentence for stabbing ex-boyfriend

An aspiring Oxford University heart surgeon student -- whose career a judge said he didn't want to ruin -- received a 10-month suspended prison sentence Monday for stabbing her ex-boyfriend.

Lavinia Woodward, 24, previously pleaded guilty to attacking her partner during a drug and booze-filled binge at Christ Church College last December.

"It seems to me that if this was a one-off, a complete one-off, to prevent this extraordinarily able young lady from following her long-held desire to enter the [medical] profession she wishes to would be a sentence which would be too severe," Judge Ian Pringle told the aspiring heart surgeon during a court appearance in May. 

Clarendon House at Oxford University in Oxford, central England, February 23, 2012.  REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Clarendon House at Oxford University in Oxford, central England in February.  (Reuters)

Woodward was handed the 10-month sentence -- suspended for 18 months -- on Monday for the attack on Thomas Fairclough. Woodward hurled a laptop, a glass and a jar of jelly at him during an argument before stabbing him in the leg with a bread knife, The Sun reported.

"Principally, at the age of 24 you have no previous convictions of any nature whatsoever,” Pringle said, according to Sky News. “I find that you were genuinely remorseful following this event and, indeed, it was against your bail conditions, you contacted your partner to fully confess your guilt and your deep sorrow for what happened.

"Finally, and most significantly, 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."

Woodward, wearing a white blouse and a black trouser suit, wept as she heard the sentencing, SWNS reported. 

The rooftops of the university of Oxford are seen from the south west. REUTERS/Peter MacDiarmid

The rooftops of the university of Oxford as seen from a distance.  (Reuters)

Her lawyer, James Sturman, said in court that Woodward would not be returning to Oxford this year due to public interest in the case. 

"She has a dilemma, the university remain supportive, they are here today,” Sturman said. "Whether or not, she goes back at a later date, that will be for the Proctor to decide." 

Sturman said Woodward is considering studying for a doctorate degree abroad or looking for research opportunities at other universities.

The Sun captured photos of Woodward shopping and having her hair done in Milan during the summer as she stayed at her family’s $2 million villa near the Italian city.

Woodward met Fairclough through a dating app and started a relationship in October 2016, a prosecutor said.

"In the course of the incident two of his fingers also received cuts. Your partner managed to partly restrain you, albeit then you started to turn the knife on yourself and he had to further disarm you to prevent further self-harm,” Pringle said Monday.

The decision to offer a delayed sentence was blasted by Mark Brooks, chairman of the Mankind Initiative, an organization that supports male victims of domestic abuse.

“The judge’s comments are completely unacceptable and out of touch. This is a clear case of severe domestic abuse against a man and the focus and sympathy should be with him,” Brooks said in May, according to Sky News. “The judge seems to think that domestic abuse, when it is committed by a woman against a man, is not as serious as it rightly is when it is the other way round.”