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Oxford student 'too clever' for prison spared jail despite stabbing ex-boyfriend

Oxford student 'too clever' for prison spared jail despite stabbing ex-boyfriend”

Throwing into question the UK's legal system and the notion of preferential treatment to those high up in the social status stakes, a judge on Monday ruled that Oxford University knife stabber, Lavinia Woodward ought not be sentenced to jail.

Oxford Crown Court Judge Ian Pringle told Woodward there were many "mitigating" factors that allowed him to suspend her sentence.

The court heard Woodward had become addicted to drugs while in an abusive relationship with a previous boyfriend.

He said: "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 punched Fairclough in the face before stabbing him in the lower leg, also injuring two of his fingers.

Woodward, of Christ Church, St Aldate's, Oxford, had pleaded guilty to unlawfully wounding her partner at an earlier hearing.

The 24 year old gained national notoriety after crown court judge Ian Pringle QC in May appeared to suggest that she would not receive prison time, prompting tabloid headlines such as "too clever for prison".

He said: "She can't even go to a nightclub in London, she's so recognisable".

James Sturman QC, defending, urged the judge to give Woodward a conditional discharge due to her "unique vulnerability, remorse and good character".

"The tone in May was to see whether she could prove herself, you could take a truly exceptional course". "Whether or not, she goes back at a later date, that will be for the Proctor to decide".

"Ms Woodward is not now studying at Oxford, having voluntarily suspended her medical studies. I have no idea where this came from", he said.

The court heard she attempted suicide in police custody on the night of her arrest and was sacked from a job she took at a shop in London 48 hours after being hired when she was recognised by a customer.

A professor in her program said in a statement that Woodward has suspended her studies.

However Oxford University expressed some reluctance to that idea, saying there was no guarantee of return and that it would look into her case after the court proceedings had finished.

"The university remains supportive".

"You have no previous convictions of any nature whatsoever. Secondly, I find that you were genuinely remorseful following this event".

"Thirdly, while you are a clearly highly-intelligent individual, you had an immaturity about you which was not commensurate for someone of your age".

The judge continued: "Fourthly, as the reports from the experts make clear, you suffer from an emotionally-unstable personality disorder, a severe eating disorder and alcohol drug dependence".



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