Venod Skantha, doctor convicted of murdering 16yo Amber-Rose Rush, dies in prison

A doctor convicted of killing 16-year-old Amber-Rose Rush has died in prison.

Corrections has confirmed Venod Skantha - whose murder appeal was dismissed on Wednesday - died at the Otago Corrections Facility that same day.

"There is no indication that his death is suspicious," prison director Lyndal Miles said.

"Mr 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.

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

She said Corrections' thoughts were with the man's family and friends.

No further details could be provided as the death is under investigation, Miles said.

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

"An investigation by the independent Corrections inspectorate will also be carried out.

"Other men in the unit and staff are being provided with support."

Amber-Rose was found dead in her bedroom in February 2018. Skantha was subsequently charged with her murder and found guilty at the Dunedin High Court in November 2019.

Skantha was later sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole of 19 years.

In Skantha's appeal, defence lawyer Jonathan Eaton QC argued the evidence given at the trial was both "inadmissible and highly prejudicial" and "mishandled by the Judge".

However, this was rejected by the Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

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