A U.K. college student described as “extraordinary” by a judge may be spared jail time in the stabbing of her boyfriend during an alcohol and drug-fueled argument.
Oxford University student Lavinia Woodward, 24, stabbed her now-ex-boyfriend in the leg with a bread knife last fall, according to the BBC. She also threw a laptop, glass and jam jar at him.
Woodward, who aspires to be a heart surgeon, became addicted to drugs and had an abusive relationship with a previous boyfriend, her defense lawyer told the judge. The BBC reported that she met the victim, a Cambridge University student, on Tinder.
Her lawyer told Judge Ian Pringle that her dream of becoming a surgeon would be “almost impossible” once she disclosed her conviction to prospective employers.
Pringle pointed out that Woodward’s crime was “pretty awful” and would normally bring with it a prison sentence, but said that he believed the violent attack was a “complete one-off.”
“To prevent this extraordinary, able young lady from following her long-held desire to enter the profession she wishes to would be a sentence which would be too severe,” Pringle said, according to the BBC.
Woodward and the judge both faced criticism on social media, with some critics wondering if her punishment would be different if she were disadvantaged or a person of color.
The Guardian reported that Woodward would be allowed to return to school because she “is that bright.” The student has already had multiple articles published in medical journals.
Woodward, who lives in Italy with her mother, was subjected by the court to a restraining order. She also must remain drug-free and not commit additional crimes.
The judge also took the unusual step of putting off sentencing Woodward for four months, the Guardian said. She returns to court on Sept. 25.
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