LAW AND ORDER

Tinder date acquitted in murder trial that gripped Australia

Court heard how accused left the apartment after his date fell 14 floors, then called his father and a lawyer and ate pizza

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 5:36pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 10:19pm

A man whose Tinder date plunged 14 floors to her death from his high-rise balcony was acquitted of murder by an Australian jury Thursday in a case that gripped the nation.

Gable Tostee, 30, was charged with the August 2014 murder of New Zealander Warriena Wright, who was on holiday in Surfers Paradise on Australia’s east coast.

Wright, who was 26, connected with Tostee on the popular app and went with him to his apartment but was locked out on the balcony in the early hours after an argument.

Prosecutors alleged she was so intimidated by her date she felt the only way of escape was to climb down to a lower floor.

But Wright fell and died from severe injuries.

The 12-person jury in the Queensland Supreme Court struggled to reach a verdict after beginning their deliberations on Monday, asking the judge several questions before acquitting Tostee of murder and manslaughter.

Defence lawyer Nick Dore told reporters outside the court his client was “relieved this matter is now behind him and he’s looking forward to moving on with his life”.

In harrowing audio recorded by Tostee before Wright’s death and played to the court last week, he can be heard complaining about her beating him up before calling her a “psycho bitch”.

Wright is later heard to yell “no” amid the sound of what appeared to be a door unlocking and then saying “just let me go home” repeatedly.

The court was told that Tostee left the apartment after her fall, then called his father and a lawyer and ate pizza, Brisbane’s Courier Mail said.