Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

Police confirm screams before fatal Gold Coast fall

Police guard the scene of the fall. Above right, Rrie Wright. Below right, Gable Tostee.
Police guard the scene of the fall. Above right, Rrie Wright. Below right, Gable Tostee.

Police last night confirmed screams and raised voices were heard only moments before a young Kiwi woman plunged 14 storeys to her death from a Gold Coast balcony - and a fellow New Zealander could hold vital information.

Investigators said they were looking into a "disturbance" at the Avalon apartments unit in Surfers Paradise, where Warriena "Rrie" Wright, 26, fell from a balcony.

The Lower Hutt woman, who was on the Gold Coast for a wedding, had been at the apartment with Gable Tostee, 28, whom she had met through the dating app Tinder.

Mr Tostee was interviewed by police and has been released without charge.

Yesterday, a man reported to be Mr Tostee boasted online of 150 sexual encounters, including balcony sex, but denied being responsible for Ms Wright's death.

"Fact is I've taken home probably about 150 girls from clubs over the last few years," wrote a poster using the initials "GT" and reported by Australian media to be Mr Tostee.

"When you go out often to the same places and get drunk and talk to girls, you're bound to get noticed and hated on, and people gossip."

He said he had nothing to do with Ms Wright's death. "I've been advised not to go into details but all I will say is that I absolutely did NOT cause this girl to fall and that I am devastated about what happened to her."

Detective Superintendent David Hutchinson of the Gold Coast CIB told APNZ screams were heard at the unit "shortly before the fall" at 2.30am on Friday. "There was a disturbance in the unit, there were raised voices."

Police had obtained statements from nearby residents who witnessed and heard "certain things". Mr Hutchinson would not go into further detail.

One witness who heard the screams was a Waikato woman who had been staying in a nearby apartment. Delwyn Grooby told Fairfax she heard three distinct screams.

"There was fear in her second scream that made me feel sick and frightened for her," Grooby said. "In the silence that followed, I prayed that someone had come to her rescue. When the third scream came, I really can't explain how I felt."

Other neighbours reported hearing several screams and what sounded like an argument.

Police are piecing together Ms Wright's movements since her arrival in Australia on July 29, as well as her and Mr Tostee's movements on the night she died.

Mr Hutchinson said detectives believed they had "only just met".

Investigators had taken CCTV footage to try to "identify the movements of various people at various times".

The police would not confirm where footage was taken from, but the Courier Mail said it was from cameras at the home of Tostee's parents, Gray and Helene Tostee.

Mr Hutchinson said it was too soon to know when Ms Wright's body would be released to her family. "We're in discussion with them with a view to a family member coming over here."

A friend of Ms Wright, who wished to remain anonymous, described her as "amazing". She said she had a close relationship with her mother. "Her mum is so distraught, as you can imagine. Her mum would do anything for her, she loved her so much."

Online yesterday, "GT" responded to a critical comment linking him to the death. "Most people who know me have been completely supportive. It's those who don't know me at all who assume the worst."

Mr Tostee was not at the apartment when police arrived on Friday, but later handed himself in.

- APNZ

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