Lavinia Woodward loses appeal bid to overturn sentence

Lavinia Woodward Image copyright PA
Image caption Lavinia Woodward stabbed her then boyfriend in the leg with a breadknife

An Oxford University student who was spared jail for stabbing her boyfriend has lost her latest bid to appeal against her sentence.

The Court of Appeal ruled Lavinia Woodward, 25, could not challenge her 10-month prison term which was suspended for 18 months.

She had applied to have her case heard by a full court of three judges.

Woodward pleaded guilty at Oxford Crown Court last year to unlawful wounding at Christ Church college while drunk.

At her trial, Judge Ian Pringle QC suspended her 10-month jail sentence having said he believed immediate custody would damage her career.

The case prompted a debate about inequality in the criminal justice system after he deferred her sentence to give her a chance to prove she was no longer addicted to drugs and alcohol.

He described Woodward as "an extraordinarily able young lady" and said sending her to prison would damage her hopes of becoming a surgeon.

Woodward appealed against her sentence but a judge at the Court of Appeal denied her permission after reviewing her application.

She then applied to have the case heard before more judges, who also denied her bid.

Rejecting her appeal, Judge Johannah Cutts said the Crown Court judge had taken an exceptional course by suspending her jail term and his sentence was "constructive and compassionate".

Image caption Woodward had ambitions to become a surgeon

Oxford Crown Court heard Woodward attacked her then boyfriend, whom she met on the dating app Tinder, in December 2016.

She became angry when he contacted her mother on Skype when he realised she had been drinking.

She threw a laptop at him and stabbed him in the lower leg with a breadknife, also injuring two of his fingers.

In his sentencing remarks Judge Pringle said there were "many mitigating features" of the case and she had shown "a strong and unwavering determination" to rid herself of her addictions.

Woodward has voluntarily suspended her studies at Oxford until the end of her sentence when she will face a disciplinary procedure if she decides to return.

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