LONDON: An aspiring heart surgeon branded “too clever for prison” has walked free from court after stabbing a Cambridge PHD student with a knife.
Oxford University medical student Lavinia Woodward admitted stabbing boyfriend Thomas Fairclough in the leg during a fight at Christ Church College in Oxford.
Woodward, 24, met her Cambridge-educated boyfriend on Tinder, but in a drug and drink fuelled attack she stabbed him in the leg with a bread knife.
The court previously heard she had wounded him a few times with knife, punched him in the face and also threw a laptop, a jam jar and a glass at him in her university’s halls of residence.
Woodward was handed a 10-month suspended prison sentence when she appeared at Oxford Crown Court today.
Judge Ian Pringle QC imposed a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, telling her: “There are many mitigating features in your case.
Thirdly, whilst you are a clearly highly-intelligent individual, you had an immaturity about you, which was not commensurate for someone of your age.
“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.
“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.
“In particular, you have demonstrated to me since I adjourned this matter in May a strong and unwavering determination to do so despite the enormous pressure under which you were put and which has been referred to me by your counsel.”
A prison term could have resulted in Woodward being barred from working as a doctor.
Woodward began a relationship with Thomas Fariclough in October last year, having met on dating app Tinder.
But, the court heard, she was still suffering a “very damaging” previous relationship, in which she had been introduced to Class A drugs.
On December 30, Woodward’s partner visited her in Oxford and realised she had been drinking and contacted her mother via Skype.
“When you discovered this, you became extremely angry, starting to throw objects around. It is clear from the transcript of the 999 call that your partner summoned the help of the police before you picked up a bread knife which was in the room and struck a blow with it to his lower leg,” the judge 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.
“When the emergency services arrived it was abundantly clear that you were intoxicated, deeply distraught and mentally disturbed. You were taken to the police station in a very distressed state.”