Australian man found not guilty of murdering Tinder date who fell from balcony
To add to your pile of horrifying news that makes you feel devastated about the general state of humanity, an Australian man was found not guilty of murdering his Tinder date who fell to her death from his 14th-floor apartment balcony back on Aug. 8, 2014. The 30-year-old suspect, Gabe Tostee, was acquitted of murder charges for the death of 26-year-old Warriena Wright by a Queensland state Supreme Court jury Thursday.
While prosecutors did not allege that Tostee intentionally pushed Wright off the balcony to her death, they did allege that he intimidated her badly enough that she fell off the balcony while trying to escape from his apartment. The defense argument for Tostee was that he temporarily locked her outside in order to protect himself from alleged attempts at a violent attack by Wright after she had too many drinks.
The court was able to obtain a jarring recording of the two arguing just before she fell to her death. In the recording Wright threatened to destroy Tostee’s jaw, but only after Tostee called her a “bad girl.” The recording also detailed Tostee threatening to knock her out if she pulled anything, and Wright asking if she could please go home. Understandably, Wright’s mother was angry about the recording being played in court, given it’s incredibly triggering content.
Wright and Tostee had not previously met each other before the evening of Aug. 7, when they met for casual drinks at a pub before heading back to Tostee’s Gold Coast apartment. The young Wright was in Australia on a trip from New Zealand at the time, and the pair had chatted a week on the app before meeting in real life.
Using the primary piece of evidence — the 199-minute recording made on Tostee’s phone, which detailed the growing tension between the two — prosecutors alleged there were indistinct choking sounds on the recording around the time Tostee was heard saying:
“You’re lucky I haven’t chucked you off my balcony. I should have never given you so much to drink.”
In light of Tostee’s innocent verdict, a friend of the Wright family read a statement on the family’s behalf to reporters outside the courtroom, saying:
“The family would like to make a request to all of you, to please respect our privacy now, and when they return back to New Zealand so they have an opportunity to pull the pieces of their own life back together again and so they also have the space to grieve in their own way and in peace.
Tostee’s solicitor told reporters he’s “looking forward to moving on with his life.”