Gable Tostee murder trial: Sister takes stand

Gable Tostee allegedly called a New Zealand woman he met on Tinder a "psycho b****" and told her she was lucky he didn't throw her off his balcony just moments before she plummeted to her death, a court has heard.

Tostee, 30, has pleaded not guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to murdering Warriena Wright in the early hours of August 8, 2014.

Crown prosecutor Glen Cash told the jury Tostee did not throw the 26-year-old to her death but intimidated and threatened her so greatly she felt the only way to escape was to climb down from his locked balcony.

Gable Tostee is charged with the murder of New Zealander Warriena Tagpuno Wright. Photo / via Facebook
Gable Tostee is charged with the murder of New Zealander Warriena Tagpuno Wright. Photo / via Facebook

The court heard an audio recording made by Tostee captured an altercation between the pair as well as Wright's eventual death.

Cash said Tostee became angry after Wright threw some decorative rocks at him and hit him with a telescope.

Wright's mother Merzabeth Tagpuno broke down as the court heard how her daughter was allegedly choked and restrained as Tostee abused her.

"You're lucky I haven't chucked you off my balcony you God damn psycho b****," Tostee is allegedly heard to say in the recording.

"You're not going to collect any belongings, you're just going to walk out.

"If you try to pull anything I'll knock you out, I'll knock you the f*** out - do you understand?"

A jury containing seven women and six men was told a neighbour heard Wright crying "no, no, no, please let me go home" before witnessing her falling from Tostee's balcony about 15 seconds later.

Warriena Tagpuno Wright. Photo / Supplied
Warriena Tagpuno Wright. Photo / Supplied

Cash said an audio recording Tostee secretly made inside the apartment in the three hours leading up to Wright's death, in which the pair can be heard arguing and physically fighting, will be a key piece of evidence.

Tostee's phone was still recording when he left the apartment after Wright's fatal fall and called his father, Cash told the court.

In it, he admitted the pair had fought physically and that she had fallen over his balcony.

"I was all right at first, we, you know, had sex in bed and after that she kept drinking ... She kept beating me up ... I forced her out onto the balcony and I think she might have jumped off," Tostee allegedly told his father.

"She was saying, 'I know Muay Thai, I'll beat you up for fun'.

"I tried to hold her down and she ran out onto my balcony and the last thing I remember was she kept hitting me for some reason and I just like tackled her down on the ground inside the apartment."

He is then alleged to have locked her outside.

Tostee not a 'cartoonish villain'

In his opening address, defence barrister Saul Holt QC said Tostee was a real person, not a "cartoonish villain" as the media often depicted.

Holt said Wright had become increasingly erratic and aggressive towards him after a night of drinking and intimacy.

After attempting to restrain her Tostee then put Wright out on the balcony and locked the door, the court heard.

Holt said Tostee did not choke Wright but was within his legal right to use "reasonable force" protect himself and his property.

"She is outside, he is inside and he has caused a locked door to be between the two of them," Holt said.

"What happened in this case is nothing like murder or manslaughter, it doesn't fit."

The court heard after Wright fell to her death Tostee attempted to contact a lawyer and called his father.

"She kept beating me up and whatever," Tostee told his father in the recording.

"I forced her out onto the balcony and I think she might have jumped off".

The trial before Justice John Byrne continues and is expected to take seven to eight days.

Of the 22 witnesses to be called by the Crown, Wright's sister is due to testify this afternoon.

Warriena Wright was in Queensland for a friend's wedding in 2014. Photo / via Facebook
Warriena Wright was in Queensland for a friend's wedding in 2014. Photo / via Facebook

Sister takes the stand

After being called as the first witness, Wright's sister Marreza told the court the two kept in touch via Facebook while Warriena was holidaying in Australia and messaged on the night of August 7.

She told the court her older sister said she'd met a man who looked like a character called Sam Winchester from the television show Supernatural.

The court heard Marreza was told the next day her sister had died.

'She might've jumped off'

Earlier, the court also heard Tostee called his father after Wright fell to her death and told him the pair had had sex.

Cash said Tostee told his father the woman was "really drunk" and started hitting him, presumably as a joke.

"I forced her out onto the balcony and I think she might've jumped off," he allegedly told him.

Cash said a woman who lived directly under Tostee's unit in the Avalon Apartments complex would give evidence she went onto her balcony after hearing a female saying "no, no no".

The court heard this witness would describe spotting legs dangling from the balcony above and then seeing someone fall.

The jurors also heard Tostee and Wright had exchanged messages "sporadically" after meeting via the dating app Tinder on August 1.

Merzabeth Tagpuno, the mother of New Zealand woman Warrienna Wright, arrives at the Supreme Court in Brisbane. Photo / AAP
Merzabeth Tagpuno, the mother of New Zealand woman Warrienna Wright, arrives at the Supreme Court in Brisbane. Photo / AAP

Wright's mother earlier broke down in court as Tostee pleaded not guilty to murder.

Tagpuno broke down in tears as Tostee officially pleaded not guilty to murder at the start of his Brisbane Supreme Court trial today.

The 30-year-old was flanked by his parents and lawyers as he entered the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday.

A jury of seven women and six men have been empanelled for the murder trial.

What went on in that apartment in those few hours will be the focus for the jury in this week's trial.

The trial is expected to hear from more than 20 witnesses including Wright's sister and residents of the Avalon Apartments unit comple.

The trial before Justice John Byrne is expected to take seven to eight days.

- additional reporting news.com.au

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