We know a lot about Gable Tostee, 30, from the Gold Coast. We heard a lot about him during his trial for the murder and manslaughter of Warriena Wright, 26, from New Zealand, who fell from the balcony of his 14th floor apartment in Surfer’s Paradise on August 8, 2014.
We know about the number of women he chased on Tinder. We know, through his lawyers, his account of the three hours in his apartment before Wright fell to the hard concrete below.
About Warriena, we know a lot less. She was the “Tinder date”, the “New Zealand tourist”. The girl who fell to her death. Phrases like “acting crazy” and “trying to beat him up” and “do you know how much she had to drink?” have been thrown about.
Her life has been diminished, through lawyers and media attention and harsh courtroom lighting, to a space of several hours. Three hours of a secret recording from Tostee’s phone. CCTV footage of her movements before her death. The white decoration pebbles on the floor of Tostee’s apartment. The amount of alcohol in her system. Whether or not there were choke marks on her neck.
In trying to understand what really happened in Tostee’s apartment that night, we are forgetting something extremely important.
We are forgetting that Warriena – or “Rrie” as she was known to her friends – was a real person.
A person, like you and me, who would laugh and smile and tell stories and take pictures and daydream about the future and maybe she didn’t like Mondays. Maybe she loved the smell of coffee, but hated the taste. I’m sure she and her sister had memories of cubby houses and sister arguments and borrowing-but-really-secretly-stealing each other’s clothes.
Did she like to exercise?
What was her favourite song?
Her little sister Marreza faced the media a week after Warriena's death, pleading for information from the public. She described Warriena as her best friend. “We really only had each other. She looked after me and always made sure that I was okay and she was really responsible as well,” she told reporters.
She'd spoken to her sister only hours before her death. “We weren’t talking about what she was doing — I was talking about fixing her car (because) there was an oil leak."