7 Nov 2019

CCTV suggests doctor murdered teen minutes before boyfriend arrived, court told

7:42 pm on 7 November 2019

Footage suggests a Dunedin doctor fatally stabbed 16-year-old Amber-Rose Rush only minutes before her boyfriend came to her home to check on her, the Crown has claimed.

Venod Skantha

Venod Skantha denies stabbing 16-year-old Amber-Rose Rush to death. Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

Venod Skantha denies stabbing 16-year-old Amber-Rose Rush to death in February last year.

The jury of 10 men and two women hearing the case were today shown CCTV images from late on 2 February - the day the teenager was killed.

An image shows a young man walking along South Road towards an area of Dunedin called The Glen just before 11pm.

The Crown case is the young man is a teenage friend of Mr Skantha.

About the same time, the teenage friend alerted Mr Skantha to posts on social media in which Miss Rush had shared screenshots of messages between her and the 32-year-old.

The Crown said the accused was sharing a terse exchange on social media with Miss Rush after being alerted to her post.

During the exchange between the pair, the Crown said she stated she was serious about going to the police and his employer, the Southern DHB, with claims he was "touching up" minors without their consent, supplying them alcohol and offering money for sex.

The Crown said the allegations would have been career-ending as Mr Skantha, who worked as a junior doctor in Dunedin Hospital's emergency department at the time, was on a last warning.

Another CCTV image from 11.39pm showed a car described by the police as a "silver, two-door car with tinted windows" driving towards The Glen.


  • 2 February, 2018
  • 10.58pm: CCTV from 165 South Road allegedly captures Venod Skantha's teenage friend walking towards The Glen.
  • 11.25pm: Venod Skantha and Amber-Rose Rush exchange their last messages on social media.
  • 11.39pm: The South Road CCTV system captures a silver BMW - which the Crown claims belongs Venod Skantha - to driving towards The Glen.
  • 11.45pm: The silver BMW drives past the camera again, going the other direction.
  • 11.53pm: Amber-Rose Rush sends her last message to boyfriend Kristin Clark.
  • 11.56pm: Kristin Clark becomes concerned as Amber-Rose Rush does not respond to his messages.
  • 3 February, 2018
  • Shortly after 12am: Kristin Clark leaves his Lee Street flat to go check on Amber-Rose Rush.

  • About 12.15am: Kristin Clark arrives at Amber-Rose Rush's Clermiston Avenue home and knocks on her window, but receives no response.
  • 12.17am: Kristin Clark messages Amber-Rose Rush again, but receives no response. Her brother, Jayden Rush, arrives home from work soon after.

The Crown said that car was Mr Skantha's silver BMW.

The Crown claims, after exchanging his last messages with Amber-Rose Rush about 11.25pm, he contacted his teenage friend - who has name suppression - telling him he was going to pick him up.

He told the teenager he had a "masterplan" to deal with the situation.

Another CCTV image from 11.45pm showed the same car heading past the camera again, this time in the opposite direction towards Miss Rush's home in the Dunedin suburb of Corstorphine.

The Crown said once Mr Skantha arrived at Miss Rush's home in Clermiston Avenue, his teenage friend drew a map of the house on the dashboard, pointing out Miss Rush's bedroom, and told him where a spare key was kept.

Amber-Rose Rush

Amber-Rose Rush was found dead at her home in Clermiston Avenue. Photo: Facebook

The Crown said he then entered the house, went to her bedroom, smothered her with pillows and stabbed her to death just before midnight.

Fatal neck wound

The court earlier today heard from forensic pathologist Doctor Kate White, who carried out the autopsy on Miss Rush's body.

She detailed several wounds to teen's neck and throat.

"The most important wound was on the left side of the neck," Doctor White said.

"This measured 110mm in length at post-mortem. Within the depths of this wound were injuries to other structures."

Those injuries included a completely severed carotid artery, damage to other blood vessels, her windpipe being mostly severed and the weapon had gone deep enough to leave marks on vertebrae.

The wound split her left ear and ran beyond the base of the skull, and was the fatal blow.

The pathologist estimated the wound to be about five to six centimetres deep at its deepest point.

It would have taken "some minutes" for Miss Rush to bleed out, Doctor White said.

The tight timeframe the killing took place in was laid bare by the comparison between the CCTV evidence and the testimony of Miss Rush's then-boyfriend, Kristin Clark, earlier this week.

Mr Clark told the court he was messaging Miss Rush during that night as she expressed her frustration with Mr Skantha and told Mr Clark she was thinking of going to his house to confront him.

Mr Clark advised his girlfriend not to do that and told her he could come pick her if she was feeling frustrated.

At 11.53pm she responded: "I won't be allowed."

It was the last message she sent to her boyfriend.

Mr Clark continued to message her, telling her "I'm willing to do anything for you" and expressing his concern for her.

When she did not respond, Mr Clark left his Lee Street flat and drove the "maybe eight minutes" to Miss Rush's home and knocked on her window. He got no reply.

He sent her a Snapchat message letting her know he was at her home at 12.17am and called her a couple of minutes later. Then he left when her brother got home from work.

Her brother, Jayden Rush, noticed a spare key was left in the door and the lights were left on in the kitchen and knocked on Miss Rush's bedroom door to mockingly tell her off. But when she did not respond, he went to bed.

The Crown says the reason neither Mr Clark nor Mr Rush received a response was because the teenager was dead by this time.

Mr Skantha's teenage friend is expected to give evidence early next week.

He also faces four charges of threatening to kill, the Crown says in an attempt to conceal his crime.