Lavinia Woodward
Oxford University student Lavinia Woodward may avoid jail after stabbing a man she met on Tinder.Facebook / Lavinia Woodward

A budding heart surgeon studying at Oxford University who knifed her boyfriend during a violent row could avoid jail because of her "extraordinary" talent, a judge has said.

Oxford Crown Court Judge Ian Pringle said that a custodial sentence, which would normally be meted out for such a crime, would prevent Lavinia Woodward from embarking on her chosen career - a sentence, which he said was, "too severe".

It was stated at the court, where the 24-year-old admitted to a charge of unlawful wounding, that she met her victim on Tinder before she launched into her attack on 30 September.

The judge heard how she punched the man and swiped at him with a bread knife after drinking and taking drugs.

The Cambridge-educated man was stabbed in the leg before she threw a laptop, glass and a jam jar at him at the iconic Christ Church College.

Pringle said: "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.

He added according to the Guardian: "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."

The judge then made the unusual decision to suspend his sentencing for four months, with Woodward having to return to the court on 25 September.

It was even stated by her defence barrister James Sturman QC that Christ Church would even allow her to return in October because she "is that bright" and has had articles published in medical journals.

Prosecuting Cathy Olliver said at the time of the attack her behaviour had "deteriorated" until she snapped whilst her boyfriend was speaking to his mother on Skype. It was during this call that Woodward launched into her attack.

Sturman said Woodward was a drug addict whose dreams of becoming a surgeon were "almost impossible" if she was jailed as her conviction would have to be disclosed.

The court also heard how Woodward had a "very troubled life" before the incident, and had been abused by a former partner.

Woodward was handed a restraining order and told to stay drug-free and not to re-offend before her next court date.

A spokesman for Christ Church said they did not comment on the circumstances of individual students.