Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Close friends of Warriena Wright pay emotional tribute after Gable Tostee cleared

Warriena Tagpuno Wright, who died after falling from Gable Tostee's 14th storey Gold Coast balcony during the August 2014 Tinder date, has been remembered as a "beautiful" friend.
Warriena Tagpuno Wright, who died after falling from Gable Tostee's 14th storey Gold Coast balcony during the August 2014 Tinder date, has been remembered as a "beautiful" friend.

Warriena Wright's closest friends have paid tribute to a "dear and beautiful friend" and spoken of the "pure strength and dignity" of her grieving family.

Hayley Cayson and Kaitlyn Cooper-Craill wrote the heartfelt tribute as they attempt to "put the pieces of our lives back together".

Wright, a 26-year-old of Lower Hutt, had been in Queensland for a friend's wedding when she met Gable Tostee on the popular dating app, Tinder.

She plunged to her death from Tostee's 14th-storey Gold Coast balcony during the August 2014 date.

Tostee was charged with her murder but was acquitted of the murder and manslaughter of Wright by a jury last week.

Gasps were heard in the back of the courtroom where Tostee's family was sitting as the jury delivered their not guilty verdict about 3.20pm local time on Thursday.

Wright's family attended the trial but did not comment after the verdict.

Now, Wright's dearest friends have released a statement on Facebook.

"We are truly blown away by the pure strength and dignity Rrie's family have shown throughout this horrific time, and we continue to send you our love and support in the times to come.

"For us Rrie was not just a victim. She's a real person who is loved and missed every day. She is a dear and beautiful friend who deserves to be remembered for all the good she put out into the world and for all the kind and gentle things she did for her family and friends. And most importantly, for all the laughter and joy she brought into our lives with her wild sense of humour.

"As I'm sure you all can appreciate this is a difficult time for all who know and love Rrie, and we thank you for the respect and privacy while we put the pieces of our lives back together. Although one very important piece has been unfairly taken from us she will forever be remembered and carried in our hearts."

The friends also issued a thank-you, on their and Wright's family's behalf, to Queensland Police, trial prosecutor Glen Cash, Australian and New Zealand homicide and victim support networks, and family and friends "who have stood behind us over the last two years".

After the trial, Tostee's solicitor Nick Dore said Tostee was looking forward to putting the matter behind him.

"He's looking forward to moving on with his life," Dore said.

"He thanks those people who have supported him through this and realises just how tragic this has been for many people.

"At this stage he is looking forward to putting it behind him and considering his future from here."

In an interview with New Idea magazine in 2014, sister Marreza Wright, known as Reza, described her sister as her best friend and flatmate.

The pair had never lived apart and Wright had planned to buy them a house and adopt rescued animals, she said.

Wright, who loved gaming, anime and photography, was intelligent and reliable.

"She valued smarts before looks and was lucky to have both," Reza told the magazine.

- NZ Herald

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