Doctor named as Amber-Rose murder accused

The Dunedin doctor accused of murdering a 16-year-old girl can now be revealed as 30-year-old Venod Skantha.

The defendant, who allegedly killed teenager Amber-Rose Rush on February 2, has pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared before the High Court at Dunedin this morning.

The pair were known to each other and appear together in a photo which has been supplied to the Otago Daily Times.

Dunedin health professional Venod Skantha accused of murdering Amber-Rose Rush (16) appears in...
Dunedin health professional Venod Skantha accused of murdering Amber-Rose Rush (16) appears in the Dunedin High Court in March. Photo: ODT

He also denied four charges of threatening to kill.

Skantha appeared before Justice Gerald Nation who declined name suppression last month but he appealed that decision.

The Court of Appeal, which heard the dispute on April 16, released its decision today backing the judge’s ruling.

Skantha lists his place of work on Facebook as “Dunedin Public Hospital" and according to the Medical Council database he graduated from Auckland University in 2014.

Amber-Rose Rush and her mother Lisa Ann. Photo: Supplied
Amber-Rose Rush and her mother Lisa Ann. Photo: Supplied

The website previously said he was registered to practice medicine in the position of “House Officer" at the Southern District Health Board. 

His practising certificate was due to lapse in February but a search of his name on the site no longer yields any results.

Amber-Rose was found dead by family members at her Corstorphine home the day after her alleged murder.

Venod Skantha and Amber-Rose Rush. Photo: Supplied
Venod Skantha and Amber-Rose Rush. Photo: Supplied
Her mother Lisa Ann voiced her heartache on social media.

 

"How do I put into words what you mean to me my baby girl. You are literally my other half, my soul, my heart, my everything," she wrote.

"I don’t know how to be without you, I cannot see a way to live without you."

In the following days, police launched a search of waterways at Blackhead and later confirmed they found “an item of interest".

They then asked for public sightings of a silver BMW travelling between Dunedin and Balclutha in the early hours of February 3.

Doctor Venod Skantha competes in the Dunedin heats of the New Zealand Chilli Eating Champs last...
Doctor Venod Skantha competes in the Dunedin heats of the New Zealand Chilli Eating Champs last April. Photo: ODT files

Amber-Rose was farewelled at a colourful funeral on February 10 where she was described as the "life of the party’’, who pretended to be tough but was a "marshmallow’’ on the inside.

Skantha will be back in court this week.

 

 

 

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