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Corrections say they weren't aware of Venod Skantha's denied appeal before he was found dead in jail

Corrections say they weren't aware of Venod Skantha's denied appeal before he was found dead at Otago Corrections Facility yesterday afternoon.

Venod Skantha. Source: 1 NEWS

The former Dunedin doctor was serving time after being convicted of killing Dunedin teenager Amber-Rose Rush in February 2018.

At a trial at the Dunedin High Court in November 2019, Skantha was found guilty of stabbing the 16-year-old at her Dunedin home on February 3, 2018.

The Crown argued Skantha killed the teenager after learning she would go to police and hospital bosses with allegations of sexual assault, along with him providing alcohol to minors.

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A prisoner at the Otago Corrections Facility died yesterday, on the same day his appeal was rejected. Source: 1 NEWS

Skantha was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of 19 years.

Otago Corrections Facility prison director Lyndal Miles said Skantha was advised of the court's decision in relation to his appeal via a telephone call from a representative of his legal counsel yesterday afternoon. He was found dead shortly after around 4pm.

"Skantha was advised of the Court’s decision in relation to his appeal in a telephone call from a representative of his legal counsel yesterday afternoon," Miles says.

"Conversations between prisoners and their legal advisers are privileged and Corrections was not aware of the decision.

"The Court does not routinely inform Corrections of decisions that do not have an impact on the length of a prisoner’s sentence."

The coroner is yet to determine the cause of death but police say it isn't suspicious.