Student attacker at Oxford Uni?!

Today I’ve decided to talk about something important and different to the usual upbeat Formula 1 race reviews. I’ve decided to talk about Lavinia Woodward – an Oxford medical student who stabbed her Cambridge boyfriend at Christ Church college. The reason why I feel as if this is such an important topic to talk about is because of the fact that Woodward may not face jail as ‘she’s too clever.’

Woodward is an aspiring heart surgeon, studying at Christ Church college, who stabbed Thomas Fairclough in the leg reportedly with a breadknife and hurled a laptop, glass and a jam jar at him. The 24-year-old had met her ex, Cambridge PhD student Thomas Fairclough, on Tinder earlier in the term. Prosecutor Cathy Olliver said on the night of the attack, the couple had rowed and Woodward’s behaviour “deteriorated”. When Fairclough threatened to contact Woodward’s mum on Skype she punched him in the face before picking up a bread knife and stabbing him in the leg. She also hurled a laptop, glass and jam jar at her boyfriend during the drink-fuelled argument on September 30.

Woodward has had published articles in medical journals and is reportedly so intelligent that ‘she might win a Nobel Prize.’ Her ambition has been to cure heart disease and she has come top of her year in the pre-clinical tests that all Oxford medical students need to take at the end of their third year.  According to her Facebook profile, Woodward attended £16,000-a-year Sir James Henderson British School of Milan. She left in 2011 and began studying at Oxford in the same year. According to Oxford Crown Court, Woodward had a “very troubled life,” battling addiction and suffering abuse by another ex.

However, Ian Pringle (the judge of her case) has suggested that she may not face jail as it could damage her career. It seems to be a ‘one-off’ to him.

“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.

“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.” – Ian Pringle

He will sentence her on 25th September but she is currently told to stay drug-free and not to reoffend.

Okay, so what’s the problem of this now that I’ve told you the backstory and background of the case? Well firstly I would just like to emphasize the fact that one’s intelligence or level of education or place of education should not be a reason or an excuse for one to be let off so lightly. If this was someone from a state school, or someone at a University not so well-renowned or if this was someone who was not as intelligent as her, the situation most likely would be different. For starters, if they weren’t as smart as her, they probably wouldn’t just to be told to ‘stay drug-free’. Woodward reportedly can avoid jail because she’s ‘that smart’ but is that just because she attends the University of Oxford and is a medical student? If that was someone who went to a local college, the story would be different. Moreover, she’s white. That gives her an advantage and more of a reason as to why she isn’t being sentenced to jail. If that was a young African-American person or an Asian student, I’m pretty sure the situation would be different. Even if that African-American student or Asian had the same intelligence as her and studied Medicine at Oxford. My biggest problem with this case is why is she being let off so lightly. Are we not looking at what she has done? She has stabbed someone in the leg with a bread knife. That is stupid, reckless and unreasonable. No smart person does that. Another thing to add also, she’s aspiring to be a heart surgeon. Doctors are supposed to be individuals that we can trust, individuals that guide and care for us and people that we can count on for safety and protection. Therefore, how can we trust in her to operate on us safely in the future?

The matter of the fact is it shouldn’t matter or be an excuse of who you are, where you study, what you want to do in the future or your level of intelligence in order to face punishments. Woodward deserves to face jail sentence in order to understand the importance and severity of the crime she has committed because I’m sure if the tables were turned and we were presented with a person of colour studying at Oxford for medicine, there would be serious consequences and there would be more than ‘mental health issues’ addressed in the media. I’m tired of different people getting different privileges, punishments and treatments because of their background, wealth and skin colour. It needs to stop.

Safa X

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