Friend's joy over murder charge

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 18/08/2014
Warriena Tagpuno Wright
TRAGEDY: Warriena Wright was in Australia for a family wedding.

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The man charged over the death of a Lower Hutt woman deserves to spend a lifetime in jail, a long-time friend of the victim says.

Warriena "Rrie" Tagpuno Wright, 26, died in the early hours of August 8 after falling from Gable Tostee's 14th-floor balcony at the Avalon Apartments in Surfers Paradise.

Tostee, after vehemently denying any involvement in her death, has now been charged with murder.

Tutai Jessie, who met Wright through church 11 years ago, said she felt relieved when news broke that Tostee had been charged.

"It was confusing at first because he was denying having any involvement at all up on that balcony, but it was quite obvious he was the last person with her," Jessie, 24, who lives in Melbourne, said.

"I cried out of happiness and joy because justice could be had."

Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson, of Queensland, said yesterday that witnesses heard a man and woman arguing at the apartment and then a woman's voice screaming "no, no, no" and "I just want to go home", shortly before Wright fell to her death.

Wright and Tostee, 28, connected through online dating app Tinder and later met at a mall about 9pm on August 7.

Tostee regularly boasted about his sexual exploits on online forums, claiming in one that he had taken 150 girls home from clubs in the past few years.

Police say that night Wright went back to Tostee's apartment where she was assaulted, that she feared for her life and fell as she was trying to escape by climbing from his balcony to one below.

Jessie said she hadn't picked Wright as someone who would have met up with a stranger through Tinder.

"It's not like her to chat on Tinder with strangers . . . she never had a problem meeting new people. She was trusting like that but not in a stupid way. She could have met people on her own without the help of a dating app."

Through tears Jessie said she was devastated to learn of her friend's final moments.

"To find out that's true and that he did that to her. She was such a sweet person and didn't deserve that. Him being behind bars is all that matters at the moment," she said. "I just hope that she's at peace and there's no more suffering for her."

Jessie is also friends with Wright's younger sister, Reza Tagpuno, 23, who is in Surfers Paradise arranging to have her sister's body brought home.

"I've been in contact with Reza and she doesn't know how to feel right now. Her concern isn't that fella Gable, she just wants it all to be over and to move on and grieve privately."

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Hutchinson said Tostee was the only suspect during the investigation leading up to his arrest on Friday.

He said police were able to arrest him after audio recordings of the pair at the apartment were found. Tostee remains at Southport Watchhouse while waiting for his next court appearance via video link on October 10.

He took to a bodybuilding forum last week to say he was devastated by Wright's death and denied having anything to do with her fall.

"I absolutely did NOT cause this girl to fall and I am devastated about what happened to her," he wrote.

- The Dominion Post

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