Teen brutally murdered over Insta post
A 16-YEAR-OLD girl was murdered by a doctor who broke into her home and stabbed her to death because he feared she would expose him for sexually assaulting her, a court has heard.
On Wednesday, Venod Skantha, 32, was found guilty of murdering Amber-Rose Rush, 16, after breaking into her Dunedin home in New Zealand on the night of February 2 last year. He was also convicted of four counts of threatening to kill after a jury in the High Court at Dunedin deliberated for three hours, the New Zealand Herald reports.
The Crown alleged Skantha slain Ms Rush in a bid to silence her after she shared a series of messages between the pair on Instagram. Skantha knew the posts could ruin his medical career, according to prosecutors.
The killer was arrested two days after the teen's death but denied having a close association with her.
"I shouldn't really be hanging out with kids anyway," Skantha said.
"Hanging out with a 16-year-old - it's ridiculous."
As pressure mounted on Skantha and the evidence against him piled up, he started to crack.
"It's not in my nature. I promise you. I don't know where you're getting this from," Skantha said.
"It's not something I would do. Have you looked in my background?"
The court heard Ms Rush met Skantha through a mutual friend, a teenage boy, at a party in the doctor's home in mid-2017. Despite their age difference, the pair spent significant time together over the coming months.
The friend who introduced them went on to become the prosecution's key witness, describing Skantha's interest in Ms Rush as "creepy".
The witness, whose name was suppressed, said he sensed something unusual.
"It was just... very weird how much he seemed to like Amber," he told the court.
Skantha, he said, seemed "fascinated" by both the victim and her mother, who died of a suspected suicide after her daughter's death.
Towards the end of 2017, Ms Rush told her friend she had been molested by Skantha.
"She told me she'd woken up with her bra off and Vinny's hand down her pants," the witness told the court, according to the New Zealand Herald.
"I don't believe she was lying to me."
During the trial, the court heard Skantha offered money to Ms Rush to have sex with him, which the defence agreed had happened.
"Initially it was $2000 and then it went up to $20,000 when she denied him," her friend told the court, Radio New Zealand reports.
"She told me she ended up slapping him in the face and getting herself picked up and leaving as soon as possible."
On February 2, Ms Rush called Skantha out on social media, sharing snippets of a text message exchange between the pair.
"You're lucky I don't go into the hospital and tell them you turn up to work drunk, supply minors with alcohol, touch them up without consent, grow up Vinny you're 30 for f*** sakes," Ms Rush wrote to Skantha.
He replied: "U know I din mean it," (sic).
The tension reached boiling point when Skantha later realised Ms Rush had made some of their messages public on social media.
"U better remove that post," he wrote to her.
In her final message to Skantha, Ms Rush responded: "I hope you pay for it and I hope you go to sleep at night hating yourself".
Instead, Skantha drove to Ms Rush's family home, and stabbed her to death.