The 24-year-old medical student at Oxford University who a judged deemed “too clever” to go to prison for stabbing her boyfriend has been given a 10-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months, which means she will remain free unless she commits another crime in the next year and a half.
Earlier this year, Lavinia Woodward went on an alcohol- and drug-fueled rampage that saw her stab her boyfriend in the leg with a bread knife, hurl a laptop at him, and pelt him with a glass and jam jar before he finally escaped, Metro reported.
Even though Woodward confessed to the crime, a judge decided to hand down the lenient sentence after listing a slew of reasons why she should not be heavily punished.
“There are many mitigating features in your case,” opined Judge Ian Pringle. “Principally, at the age of 24 you have no previous convictions of any nature whatsoever. Secondly, I find that you were genuinely remorseful following this event and, indeed, it was against your bail convictions, you contacted your partner to fully confess your guilt and your deep sorrow for what happened.”
“Thirdly, whilst you are a clearly highly-intelligent individual,” he continued, “you had an immaturity about you which was not commensurate for someone your age.”
The judge went on to essentially blame Woodward’s violent spree on mental and physical health issues, noted that she has kicked her addiction to alcohol and drugs, and claimed that she had demonstrated “a strong and unwavering determination” to adhere to her bail terms.
Judge Pringle became the subject of an international backlash when he opted to delay Woodward’s sentencing, stating: “To prevent this extraordinary, able young lady from following her long-held desire to enter the profession she wishes to would be too severe.”
Many saw the judge’s soft handling of Woodward’s case as reflective of the way upper-class people are often spared harsh sentences. Others argued that a man accused of the same crime would have fared much worse.
“This is a clear case of severe domestic abuse against a man and the focus and sympathy should be with him,” said Mark Brooks, whose ManKind Initiative charity supports male victims of domestic abuse.
“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 around,” he added. “This is wrong.”