A New Zealand tourist was so afraid of an Australian man she met through the dating app Tinder that she fell 14 floors to her death while trying to escape from his apartment balcony, a prosecutor told a court on Monday. Gable Tostee, 30, pleaded not guilty in the Queensland state Supreme Court in Brisbane to the murder of 26-year-old Warriena Wright in Gold Coast city in the early hours of Aug. 8, 2014.
He faces a potential life sentence if convicted. Tostee and the Lower Hutt woman met for the first time in the tourist center of Surfers Paradise on the night she died. Prosecutor Glen Cash told the jury that Tostee did not throw Wright to her death, but intimidated and threatened her to an extent that she felt the only way to escape was to climb down from his balcony.
The court heard an audio recording made on Tostee’s phone that captured an altercation between the pair as well as the fall. Cash alleged that Tostee became angry after Wright threw ornamental rocks at him and hit him with a telescope. He also said that Tostee choked and restrained her before locking her out of his apartment on the balcony.
“You’re lucky I haven’t chucked you off my balcony,” Tostee is heard to say. “If you try to pull anything, I’ll knock you out.”
The jury was told a neighbor heard Wright crying, “No, no, no, please let me go home,” before witnessing her falling from the balcony about 15 seconds later. Defense lawyer Saul Holt said Wright had become increasingly erratic and aggressive toward Tostee after a night of drinking and intimacy.
“What happened in this case is nothing like murder or manslaughter. It doesn’t fit,” Holt said. The trial was continuing on Monday.