Like many a young prospective couple, Warriena Wright and Gable Tostee decided to meet after messaging on Tinder. They went for a few drinks and ended up back at Tostee’s apartment, where they took a string of selfies to mark their first date. So far, so normal. However, just hours later, the evening took a more unusual turn – and a horribly sinister one at that.
Warriena Wright was 26 years old and lived in New Zealand. In August 2014, though, she was visiting Queensland, Australia, for a couple of weeks to attend her friend’s wedding. And it was towards the end of the vacation that she was matched with Gable Tostee on Tinder.
The young pair duly exchanged a series of messages, with Tostee telling Wright that, among other things, she was “delicious.” Before long, in fact, their conversation became pretty intimate, and it was clear that they wanted to see each other for real.
Indeed, because they were both in Queensland’s Surfers Paradise resort, they agreed to meet. The following week, then, Tostee and Wright were captured on CCTV at the Surfers Paradise Cavill Mall, greeting each other with a hug.
They ventured to a nearby bar before heading back to Tostee’s 14th-floor apartment just before 9:00 p.m. Five and a half hours later, however, Wright had tragically fallen from Tostee’s balcony and was dead. As for Tostee, after pleading not guilty, he was tried for her murder.
Just exactly what happened inside his apartment is unclear. Tostee, now 30, claimed that the pair had had sex. Warriena’s sister Marreza Wright, meanwhile, revealed that her sibling had messaged her on the evening she passed away.
What’s more, Wright documented the evening by taking selfies with her new suitor. And the chilling images show the pair in a range of poses, looking happy and flashing peace signs to the camera. Something must have gone horribly wrong, then, in the time between the photo-taking and Wright’s death.
And it may indeed have done, as a three-hour tape recording from the apartment seemed to document an argument between Wright and Tostee. The latter can allegedly be heard telling the former that she’s not his “kind of girl.” This statement was also accompanied by requests for her to leave.
“You are lucky I haven’t chucked you off my balcony,” Tostee reportedly continued. “You are not going to collect any of your belongings. You are just going to walk out and I am going to slam the door on you. Do you understand? If you try and pull anything, I’ll knock you out.”
On the tape, which recorded heavy breathing, Wright is heard apologizing. It was alleged that Tostee choked and forcibly detained his date in what were to be her final minutes.
The jury, who were played the recording, heard Wright screaming “no” over 30 times, during which a door is heard sliding open and shut. More screams followed before the tape fell silent and Tostee was heard repeatedly swearing to himself.
Tostee then left his apartment and wandered around before picking up a pizza and eating it outside. On his return home he decided not to enter owing to the obvious police presence.
Just after 3:00 a.m., then, Tostee called his dad Gary. In addition to asking his father to pick him up, moreover, Tostee revealed that he “might have a bit of a situation.” Indeed, he then explained how he’d “met up with a girl for a date tonight and she started getting really aggressive.”
“It was alright at first and we, you know, had sex in bed. And then after that she kept drinking, and I think she thought it was like a joke or something, but she kept beating me up,” Tostee continued. He then told his father that he’d forced Wright onto his balcony, where he thought she “might have jumped off.”
However, at Tostee’s murder trial in October 2016, prosecution attorney Glenn Cash claimed that the accused hadn’t in fact pushed Wright off the balcony. Instead, he had scared her to such a point that she felt that she had to climb over it to escape. Cash therefore alleged that Tostee was indeed responsible for Wright’s death.
Meanwhile, eyewitness Nick Casey, who was on his balcony two floors down that night, claimed that he heard Wright say “I want to go home.” He told the court, “I heard her say ‘help’ and at that point I said to her, ‘Go back inside,’ and it wasn’t long after that [that] she fell.”
Continuing his testimony, Casey said, “She fell straight past where I was standing on the balcony and ricocheted off a few balconies below us and kept going to the ground.” His statement was corroborated in court by Emily Ellis, who said that she witnessed Wright dangling from the balcony.
“I couldn’t work out the logic of why she was the way she was. All I could see, ’cause I’m quite short… I could see the bottom of her feet,” Ellis told the court. “By the time I’ve tried to work out what she was doing, was she trying to get down to another level or where she was going, she was gone, she’d fallen.”
Photos from Tostee’s apartment, which were used as evidence, showed empty alcohol bottles and decorative white pebbles strewn across the living-room floor. It was suggested that Wright threw the objects at Tostee, which made him angry.
And after a taxing trial, a jury of six women and six men at Brisbrane’s Supreme Court retired to consider their verdict on October 17, 2016. On October 20 Tostee was declared not guilty of Wright’s murder or manslaughter.