Dunedin doctor who murdered teenage girl dies in prison

A former Dunedin doctor convicted of killing Dunedin teenager Amber-Rose Rush in February 2018 has died behind bars.

Your playlist will load after this ad

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

Corrections have confirmed the man who died in custody yesterday afternoon at the Otago Corrections Facility was convicted killer Venod Skantha.

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.

Miles said conversations between prisoners and their legal advisers are privileged and Corrections was not aware of the court’s decision.

“The court does not routinely inform Corrections of decisions that do not have an impact on the length of a prisoner’s sentence,” he said.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Venod Skantha’s lawyer was in the Wellington Court of Appeal today, trying to overturn his murder conviction and life sentence. Source: 1 NEWS

All deaths in custody are referred to the coroner for investigation and determination of cause of death.

The coroner is yet to determine the cause of death.

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.

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

Your playlist will load after this ad

The 16-year-old was stabbed to death in her bed on February 2, 2018. Source: 1 NEWS

The former doctor, who had worked at Dunedin Hospital, later appealed his convictions.

A panel of Court of Appeal judges said yesterday they were satisfied Skantha committed the crime and that he was also guilty of threatening to kill four other people to silence a witness.