If you want to get away with a violent crime in London, you’d better hope that you are attending a prestigious university and making good grades. 24-year-old Lavinia Woodward might get off scot-free after pleading guilty to stabbing her boyfriend in a drug-fueled rage because the judge thinks that she has an “extraordinary” talent.
In a statement, Oxford Crown Court Judge Ian Pringle announced that he would be deferring Woodward’s sentencing until September and even suggested that she might not receive a custodial sentence, which means she may not even go to jail.
“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,” Pringle said, adding: “What you did will never, I know, leave you but it was pretty awful, and normally it would attract a custodial sentence, whether it is immediate or suspended.”
Critics of the decision claim that Woodward, an aspiring doctor, should never be in a position to be anywhere close to patients and narcotics given the audacity of her crime. But some legal experts in the United Kingdom have suggested that sparing jail time for the wealthy young woman would not be unwise and have characterized the judge’s remarks as out-of-context.
According to Francis FitzGibbon, chair of the Criminal Bar Association, Woodward enjoyed a number of mitigating circumstances that likely compelled Pringle to delay her sentencing so that she could address her drug addiction: she pleaded guilty, she had no previous convictions, and she showed remorse for her actions.
Woodward, who met her boyfriend on Tinder, reportedly stabbed him in the leg before throwing multiple items at him, including a laptop and a glass jar. Just prior to the incident, Woodward’s boyfriend tried to call her mother on Skype but she became enraged and began physically assaulting him.