Kiwi dies after Surfers Paradise balcony fall

05:59, Aug 11 2014
BALCONY FALL: Police investigators at Surfers Paradise's Avalon resort after a woman plunged to her death.

Police have positively identified a woman who died after she fell from a Surfers Paradise high-rise apartment building.

The woman has been identified as 26-year-old Warriena Tagpuno Wright from Lower Hutt, New Zealand.

Around 2.20am on Friday officers were called to the Wahroonga Place building after receiving reports that a woman had fallen from a balcony.

Warriena Tagpuno Wright
SUSPICIOUS DEATH: Warriena Tagpuno Wright fell from the balcony of a Surfers' Paradise high-rise apartment building.

Police have confirmed the death is being treated as suspicious.

"In all cases like this - any sudden death which can't be explained - we treat as suspicious right from the start to ensure we determine what occurred," Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson said.

The 28-year-old man who is the sole occupant of the apartment, Gable Tostee, was assisting police with inquiries on Friday afternoon. He was not formally arrested and no charges have been laid.


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APARTMENT'S OWNER: Gable Tostee, 28, is helping police with their inquiries.

Tagpuno Wright was reportedly visiting Tostee after meeting him through an online dating app, believed to be Tinder, the Courier Mail reported.

Police said Tagpuno Wright arrived in Australia alone on July 29 for a two-week holiday, which included attending a wedding.

The paper said sources close to the investigation had revealed the pair were drinking and Tagpuno Wright was seen on the balcony prior to her death.

Witnesses at the scene recalled hearing a scream and speculated that the woman may have slipped while trying to climb down the outside of the building.

Hutchinson said neighbours heard loud voices and noises coming from the apartment. But when police arrived at the scene, nobody was inside.

Tostee handed himself in to detectives yesterday and was questioned for over two hours at Surfers Paradise Police Station, according to the Courier Mail.

He was released without charge a couple of hours later. 

Australia's Nine News reported Tostee was known to police for a fraud he was previously involved in that netted him and two friends AU$30,000 (NZ$32,800). The trio were found guilty in 2004 of making hundreds of fake ID cards for underage teenagers attending end-of-exams party week known as Schoolies.

The tower where Friday's incident took place, which is about 30 storeys high, is near the heart of Surfers Paradise off the Gold Coast Highway.

Police taped off the entrance to the Avalon on Friday, with forensic investigators setting up a blue tent in the area where Tagpuno Wright fell.

Curious residents peered from their balconies as forensic crews examined the site.

Tagpuno Wright's body was taken away about 12pm as police came and went from the building.

"The unit is still being examined at the moment," Detective Superintendent Hutchinson said on Friday morning.

"We have identified a person from the unit who is making himself available for interview later today." 

However he declined to comment on the relationship between Tagpuno Wright and Mr Tostee.

Three fire crews were also called to the unit following reports of a gas leak, but police later confirmed that it was a false alarm.

Officers were initially called to the scene when a witness on the ground contacted police.

Police continue to appeal for anyone who may have CCTV, camera, or mobile phone vision of the Avalon Apartment building around the time of the incident to contact Gold Coast Police or Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 24hrs a day.

- Brisbane Times &