Lavinia Woodward spends much of her time at her mother’s stunning Italian villa, perched on a hill surrounded by pines, a few miles from Lake Como. Her father, who also went to Oxford, is a senior oil company executive.

The same Lavinia Woodward appeared in the dock at Oxford Crown Court this week. The charge: unlawful wounding (‘when a person unlawfully and maliciously, either wounds another person or inflicts grievous bodily harm upon another person’).

The details which emerged could scarcely have provided a more shocking contrast with her gilded lifestyle and aspirations to be a heart surgeon after winning a place at Christ Church, Oxford’s most socially prestigious college.
Woodward had met a young Cambridge graduate on an online dating site.

During a drink and drug-fuelled row last September, she punched him and swiped at him with a bread knife, stabbed him in the leg then hurled a laptop at him, followed by a glass and a jam jar.

‘Pretty awful,’ is how the judge, Ian Pringle, QC, described those events.

The offence, to which she pleaded guilty, would normally mean a custodial term, he said, but he delayed sentencing for four months and hinted Woodward would not be jailed, giving her time to prove she was conquering her cocaine habit.

Perhaps he was right to do so. But his reasons for showing compassion to a clearly troubled young woman have caused much controversy.

It comes as it was alleged that Woodward attacked her Tinder date, Thomas Fairclough, on two other occasions.

She had already pleaded guilty to wounding the former Cambridge student on September 30, 2016.

But she also denied two separate claims of assaulting him shortly after – on November 25 and December 12 – and reportedly denied both claims and it was later ruled they would lie on file.

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