The mother of Dunedin teenager Amber-Rose Rush says losing her youngest child has "shattered our family".

Amber-Rose, 16, was found dead at her Corstorphine home on February 3. A 30-year-old medical professional, who has name suppression, has been charged with her murder.

On that morning, her mother Lisa Rush went to wake her daughter for work, and noticed blood.

Initially she thought her daughter had had a nose bleed, but when she didn't move "I knew it was worse than that", Fairfax reported.

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Lisa Ann Rush, mother of 16 year-old Amber-Rose Rush, hugs her son Jayden Rush in front of the hearse after her daughter's funeral in Dunedin.
Lisa Ann Rush, mother of 16 year-old Amber-Rose Rush, hugs her son Jayden Rush in front of the hearse after her daughter's funeral in Dunedin.

"I just screamed," said Rush. "Could anyone imagine finding their child like that."

Mother and daughter had gone shopping the night before. At 10.30pm, Rush told her daughter she loved her and kissed her goodnight.

Losing her youngest child, whom she described as her best friend, had "shattered our family", Rush said.


The family have already moved from their Corstorphine home, and say they are considering leaving Dunedin.

Rush said her family was struggling with the attention they were receiving, including being stared at in public.

"It feels like we are on show," she told Fairfax.

"It would be nice if a person said 'I'm sorry' rather than just staring."

Rush also says online trolls commenting about the case and Amber-Rose, have greatly upset the family.

Suggestions Amber-Rose was in a relationship with the man charged with her murder, or that she was left alone the night she died, were incorrect.

"Some people have been commenting the most ridiculous stuff that is so far from the truth," Rush said.

"I hate people thinking these things of Amber."

The man charged with murdering Amber-Rose also faces four charges of threatening to kill and a new charge, the details of which have also been suppressed.

"Our names are everywhere and he gets suppression, how is that fair?" Rush said.

The trial is scheduled to take place in March next year.

When the defendant appeared in court on February 5, members of the family unleashed fury and vitriol at him.

When the defendant, unshaven and dressed in a green hooded jersey, appeared in the dock, and turned to face them, they let fly with a barrage of abuse.

As the defendant was led to the cells, a man rushed to the barrier of the gallery, pointed at the accused and told him, "you're dead, c***".

Rush was yet to attend a court appearance, as she could not trust herself to be silent.

"I don't know if I can sit there and look at him. It is not like we haven't been through enough."

Thinking about what their daughter would want encouraged her.

"If it was one of us she would be here screaming, making sure everyone knew."

Jayden Rush, 18, brother of 16 year-old Amber-Rose Rush. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Jayden Rush, 18, brother of 16 year-old Amber-Rose Rush. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Amber-Rose had worked at a supermarket and aspired to be a police dog handler. She loved her family, art and going to the beach.

She was known to family as "Ambie Angel", and often spent her pay packet on her family, especially her nephew and niece, who she adored.

"She was completely selfless," her mother said.

Grieving family members had been getting tribute tattoos to the 16-year-old.

The tattoo features a bird and flowers and is a design Amber-Rose had made before her tragic death, her 18-year-old brother, Jayden, has told the Herald.

"Amber said the bird symbolised freedom," he said.

"It was like a bird with flowers. So my mother and sister had the exact same tattoo done two days ago. My bird is being drawn up as a phoenix."

"Amber had such a contagious smile," he said. "Everyone who met her always mentions her smile."

Amber-Rose left school a year ago because of problems with cyberbullying, but "made peace" with her former tormentors.

"She was loving life," Rush told Fairfax. "I can't described how missed she is."

At times Lisa Rush, 40, felt she was "living someone else's life ... it is overwhelming".

Amber Rush was found dead in her Dunedin home in February. Photo / Supplied
Amber Rush was found dead in her Dunedin home in February. Photo / Supplied

Being unable to see Amber's body for a week made the loss even more difficult. "Nobody should have to say goodbye to their child."