Gable Tostee: His own words about that fatal night
Gable Tostee's life changed irrevocably the moment his Tinder date, New Zealander Warriena Wright, fell from his Gold Coast balcony.
The 30-year-old was acquitted of the murder and manslaughter of the Kiwi tourist in the Brisbane Supreme Court last Thursday, but four months after her August, 2014 death, he detailed his struggle with the intensity of the attention he found himself suddenly facing.
Tostee protested his innocence from the beginning and, it was with clear frustration that, against the advice of his lawyers, he took to a bodybuilding forum to state it publicly.
Ms Wright fell to her death from the balcony of his 14th floor apartment while trying to climb to the balcony below in the early hours of August 8, 2014.
In a lengthy, articulate post entitled, "regarding the balcony tragedy" he wrote on December 10, 2014, Tostee gave, for the first time, his version of what happened inside the apartment the night Ms Wright, 26, died.
He addressed some of the case's more bizarre twists, such as why he went for pizza an hour after Ms Wright died, why he was recording inside his apartment and why he told her she couldn't go home because she was "a bad girl".
Hounded for two months by a relentless media, Tostee also addressed what he termed false news reports and indicated he intended to vigorously defend the murder charge.
A jury of six men and six women last week acquitted the 30-year-old carpet layer of Ms Wright's murder and manslaughter after a nine day trial.
He broke his silence, despite acknowledging his lawyers would probably "crucify" him for doing so, on a forum he had been a member of since 2004.
"I think it's time I spoke out about the events that have happened over the last few months," he wrote.
"Those aware will know I am referring to the tragic death of Warriena Wright.
"So far I've been silent about the whole thing which has left my hands tied while so many misconceptions and untruths are being circulated in the media and in the public.
"This has been extraordinarily difficult, and I have grown to believe my silence may have done more harm than good.
"So now you can hear it from me.
"First off let me say that the death of Warriena was the most tragic and distressing event I have ever experienced.
"Knowing I was the last person to be with her, it has left me permanently scarred and not a day passes that I don't wish I could go back in time and prevent it.
"For at least a week after it happened I was so overwhelmed I was unable to laugh or even crack a smile.
"I broke down in tears several times a day, or whenever I saw her picture in the news.
"I never expected I would ever experience something like this, nor did I have any idea how much it would affect me.
"Even though I had only known her for a night I was horrified that this had happened to her. I would never wish for it to happen to anybody.
"While I have not had the chance to meet or speak to Warriena's family, it pains me to think of the loss and suffering they must be experiencing."
ON HIS TREATMENT BY THE MEDIA
The unusual circumstances of Ms Wright's death - and the fact the pair had only just met after meeting on Tinder - made it irresistible fodder for media both at home and overseas.
From the moment Tostee voluntarily walked into the Surfers Paradise police station nine hours after his Tinder date died, he was hounded by reporters and camera crews.
It continued through every court appearance throughout the next two years, and continued, throughout the weekend after his acquittal.
"The media has been absolutely disgraceful in its handling of this," he wrote.
"From day one all they cared about was having a story.
"They don't care about the truth or right or wrong. They have no respect for the dignity of the people involved.
"A young woman had died and they needed a villain. My silence only fuelled peoples' imagination, and the media did everything they could to exploit that, including lying and misleading.
"They did everything they could to establish me as an evil monster, a portrayal which could not be further from the truth."
ON THE TINDER DATE GONE HORRIBLY WRONG
Despite the audiotape being publicly leaked, in December, 2014, few people knew what had happened inside the apartment.
At one point, Ms Wright is clearly heard to be struggling to breathe, which the prosecution alleged at trial was the sound of Tostee choking her.
He vehemently denied having done so.
"My night with Warriena was intended to be relaxed and fun. She was on holidays and we decided to meet up for drinks after matching and chatting on Tinder," he said.
"At first we got along great but as the night continued her behaviour became strange and she became increasingly aggressive.
"I'm not sure whether she found it amusing but it was getting out of hand.
"She kept hitting me, taunting me, throwing my stuff around and trashing my apartment.
"For the last couple of hours with her most of my efforts were spent trying to placate her in the hope that she would calm down.
"I have always been happy to have girls stay overnight but eventually her behaviour became too overbearing and I decided I wanted her to leave.
"I tried to make her leave but instead of leaving she grabbed a nearby metal object and tried to swing it at me.
"This is where the alleged 'choking' sounds began. I never deliberately choked her or put my hands around her neck, all I did was try to remove the weapon from her.
"If I wanted to choke her out then it probably wouldn't have been hard, but I did not do that as I did not want to hurt her.
"A less forgiving man could have quite conceivably exercised less restraint and retaliated violently.
"I did what I did to prevent further physical conflict and de-escalate the situation as best as I could."
"YOU'VE BEEN A BAD GIRL."
Seconds before Tostee locked his Tinder date on his balcony, she can be heard on the recording pleading to go home, to which Tostee is heard to respond, "no" before proceeding to tell her, "You've been a bad girl".
At trial, Crown prosecutor Glenn Cash argued that it was the refusal to let Ms Wright go home that gave her no other option than to try to leave Tostee's apartment by trying to climb to the balcony below.
"The 'bad girl' comment was me frustratingly trying to tell her that I already tried to make her leave in response to her claiming she wanted to go home," Tostee wrote.
"In the heat of the moment and given the fact that I had been drinking all night, eloquence was not my first priority.
"The struggle took place about 2-3 metres away from the rear glass doors that lead to my balcony.
"My front door was about 10m away, and has an automatic closer and lock which I would have had to flick then hold open while trying to force her out.
"This would have been much more difficult and wasn't really an option.
"Putting her outdoors would have meant I could separate her from me and keep an eye on her through the glass doors until she either calmed down or I called someone like security or police to take her away.
"Never in my wildest imagination did I expect what happened next.
"After shutting the door I turned my back and retreated, and literally about 10 seconds later when I turned around and looked through the glass I only briefly for a fraction of a second saw Warriena on the other side of the railing before she disappeared out of view.
"She never tried to get back in, bang on the door or even cry out to me or anyone else. She climbed over without any warning.
"I was too far away to react. At the time I couldn't tell if she had fallen or climbed down to another floor.
"All I knew was that she was no longer there.
"How could anybody possibly expect someone to fall to their death within seconds of being on a balcony without any warning?
"It is not as if I locked her there and left her for hours. I was in disbelief."
AFTER THE FALL
Tostee's first phone call after realising Warriena Wright was no longer on his balcony was to his lawyer.
It was not answered.
His calm demeanour after she fell, captured by CCTV cameras in his building, has been heavily criticised by members of the public, as has the fact he left the building through the basement, so he would avoid emergency services.
At trial, Justice John Byrne instructed members of the jury that his conduct in the hours after Ms Wright fell to her death could not be considered as part of their deliberations as pointing to his guilt.
"Trying to keep my composure as much as possible I quickly realised that it would be extremely foolish to go back out on the balcony in case she had indeed fallen and someone saw me standing near the edge," he said.
"The only sensible thing I could think to do at the time was call my lawyer, who would know what to do. Of course, the call didn't go through.
"I did not "flee" the scene as it has been claimed.
"I went downstairs to see if I could find out what happened.
"When I reached the lobby I saw flashing emergency lights coming from outside. At this point it dawned on me that something serious had happened.
"I was terrified, exhausted, intoxicated, and quite disorientated and all I wanted to do was get advice.
"I knew if I walked into police I could have been held under suspicion without legal representation, a situation nobody would want to be in.
"I resorted to leaving the building and calling my Dad.
"It's easy for readers to say what they would have done given hindsight, but it is impossible to know how you would react if you weren't there."
Arguably of all controversies of Tostee's conduct after Ms Wright's death, that which perplexed the public most was his decision to stop at Domino's and buy a piece of pizza.
Gold Coast Council CCTV cameras captured him wandering aimlessly around Surfers Paradise for 90 minutes after Ms Wright fell, before his father came to collect him.
In that time, the cameras caught him stopping at a Domino's store, where he bought a slice of pizza and sat on a bench to eat it.
"While I was waiting to meet my Dad I bought a slice of pizza to curb my hunger and anxiety.
It was the most convenient thing I could find at that hour," he wrote.
"Anyone familiar with the area will know that there are pizza venues that sell slices over the counter on every corner.
"The suggestion that I casually or leisurely indulged in a meal is absolutely outrageous.
"I was anything but casual. I had to eat because I was hungry, anxious, and intoxicated, and a slice of pizza was the easiest meal I could find.
"As soon as I was able to obtain legal advice and representation I presented myself to the police who examined me later that day.
"I didn't go home, I didn't sleep, I didn't even shower until that evening when I was released. "That night, the police seized my phone and my parents' phones, where they found the recording. While I did not expect them to seize it, it is completely untrue that I tried to delete it, as it proved what happened."
HIS PORTRAYAL IN THE MEDIA
At trial, Tostee's defence barrister, Saul Holt, QC, urged jurors to consider that his client was a "real person" a son, a brother and a friend.
Not the "cartoonish villain" Mr Holt said the media had constructed.
Even four months after Ms Wright's death, Tostee wrote that the life as he knew it was over, and his reputation had been destroyed.
Before his trial, Tostee changed his online name in a bid to avoid the daily vitriol that was being directed at him over Ms Wright's death.
"Not only have the facts been grossly misrepresented, the media has also vilified me to the point that my character and image has been destroyed beyond repair," he said.
"Even many of those level headed enough to look objectively at the facts and understand that I am innocent still succumb to the media portrayal of me as a creepy, disrespectful, or otherwise unsavoury character.
"I have read so many things that I can't believe are supposedly about me.
"I have read that I have followed girls to their cars at night, or that I hung around in clubs preying on drunk girls while sober myself - things which are completely untrue.
"I have read that I used a telescope and a drone to spy on girls.
"I owned a telescope and a $100 drone which I occasionally used not to spy on anyone, but for simple leisure purposes.
"I have lived in high rises with spectacular views so naturally I bought a telescope. It's no different to owning a pair of binoculars.
"It has been claimed that I was on Tinder "looking for love" the night after Warriena died - another vicious lie.
"I downloaded the app on a replacement phone in order to deactivate my account.
"I did not speak to anybody on Tinder after Warriena's death, and the last thing on my mind was finding a date.
"I did not go out to socialise even once in that week following."
Tostee acknowledged he was eccentric, but insisted he was not violent and said his posts on bodybuilding forums about his sexual exploits were not a true representation of his character.
"I may have my eccentricities, and I may have had my fair share of drunk nights out on the town," he said.
"Nobody who knows me would agree with the media's portrayal of me or describe me as a bad or violent person.
"Most of my posts on here, especially those detailing my Tinder interactions, have been for entertainment purposes and do not truly represent who I am, so it is massively unfair for the media to paint a picture of me based on a few of the 5000+ posts they have carefully picked."
WHY WAS HE RECORDING?
The recording Tostee made inside his apartment, that continued after Ms Wright's fall when he left the building, proved the key piece of evidence at trial.
Without it, Mr Holt said in his closing address to the jury, no-one would even have believed his version of what happened prior to her death.
However, a reason was never offered to the jury explaining exactly why he chose to press record at 12.55am.
Tostee explained it was something he did often, for his own protection.
"I regularly made audio recordings of my drunk nights on the town in case something happened," he wrote.
"I kept them for myself but didn't need to listen to them 99% of the time.
"It's so easy to do using a smartphone and comes at such a small cost, and sometimes the recordings have been invaluable.
"I have had minor encounters with the law in the past, including throwing an egg at someone, being involved in a small homemade fake ID racket among me and my friends when we were 18 and a few drink driving incidents.
"I'm not defending these actions but they were not of a malicious nature, and I am currently undergoing treatment for my binge drinking issues.
"It has been reported that I supposedly assaulted and abused a police officer earlier in the year - also a fabrication.
"The charge was obstruct police and public nuisance for failing to withdraw $10 quickly enough to pay for a rickshaw.
"I actually had my phone recording during this incident too."
THE ROAD AHEAD
When Tostee posted to the bodybuilding site, he had recently been released on bail, with strict conditions, including that he live with his parents, observe a curfew and stay off Tinder.
It would be nearly two more years before he went before a jury.
But from the beginning, Tostee vehemently protested his innocence.
He rejected an early offer from the Director of Public Prosecutions, in which, he said he would accept a guilty plea to manslaughter.
He acknowledged he had a long fight ahead but maintained that the truth would set him free.
"Currently I am living at my parents' home, settling in. Everything has changed profoundly and I have a long road ahead of me," he said.
"I know my lawyers might crucify me for writing this but I feel that I needed to speak out as I have had no voice so far and have sustained so much abuse having my hands tied.
"I am not afraid of the truth. I know I am innocent, I will be fighting the charge and I want to thank those who have understood and supported me.
"I look forward to this matter being resolved so that everyone involved can achieve closure.