Australian man cleared over Tinder date balcony death
An Australian man charged over the death of a New Zealand tourist who plummeted from his apartment balcony after the two began arguing during a date has been found not guilty of murder.
Gable Tostee was also acquitted of manslaughter over the death of Warriena Wright, who fell from Mr Tostee's balcony in 2014 after the two met through the dating app Tinder.
Mr Tostee, 30, had faced a life sentence if he had been convicted by the Queensland state Supreme Court jury.
Prosecutors did not allege that Mr Tostee threw Ms Wright, 26, to her death but had argued she was so scared of Mr Tostee that she fell 14 floors while trying to escape from his apartment balcony in the city of Gold Coast.
The two met for the first time on the night she died, and went back to his apartment.
During the trial, prosecutor Glen Cash said Mr Tostee intimidated and threatened Ms Wright so much that she felt her only escape was to climb down from his balcony.
The court heard an audio recording made on Mr Tostee's phone that captured an altercation between the pair, as well as the fatal fall.
Mr Cash alleged that Mr Tostee became angry after Ms Wright threw ornamental rocks at him and hit him with a telescope.
The prosecutor also said that Mr Tostee choked and restrained her before locking her out of his apartment on the balcony.
"You're lucky I haven't chucked you off my balcony," Mr Tostee is heard saying in the recording.
"If you try to pull anything, I'll knock you out."
Defence lawyer Saul Holt denied Mr Tostee was responsible for Ms Wright's death, saying the woman, from Lower Hutt, on New Zealand's North Island, became erratic and aggressive towards Mr Tostee after a night of drinking.
Outside court, another lawyer representing Mr Tostee said his client was grateful for the verdict.
"He's relieved this matter is now behind him and he's looking forward to moving on with his life," Nick Dore told reporters.