Tragic end to Hutt woman's holiday

MICHAEL FORBES AND TOM HUNT
Last updated 05:00 11/08/2014
Warriena Tagpuno Wright
SUSPICIOUS DEATH: Warriena Tagpuno Wright fell from the balcony of a Surfers' Paradise high-rise apartment building.

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A Lower Hutt woman who fell to her death from a high-rise apartment on the Gold Coast was a beautiful person, both inside and out, her friends say.

Warriena Tagpuno Wright, 26, who went by the name Rrie, was in Australia for a fortnight to catch up with friends and attend a wedding.

But what began as a fun holiday, full of golden beaches and trips to Australia Zoo, ended in the early hours of Friday morning when she plunged 14 floors from an apartment balcony in the heart of Surfers Paradise.

Wright was at the apartment of Gable Tostee, 28, a man she is understood to have met only hours earlier through the popular smartphone dating app Tinder.

Queensland police are treating Wright's death as suspicious and have spoken with Tostee but have not charged him with anything.

Wright worked at a Kiwibank call centre back home and flatted with her sister Reza.

She was an aspiring photographer and passionate campaigner for animal rights, regularly posting articles online to raise awareness. She had written to Parliament in the past requesting harsher penalties for animal abusers.

She grew up attending Porirua's Seventh-day Adventist Church, where her mother Beth is a deacon.

Edwina Ulberg, who attended the church with Wright during their teenage years, paid tribute to her yesterday.

"She was really shy and quiet. She was really nice - a beautiful person inside and out. She was really caring. She helped people out and stuff. She was really nice."

Though the pair saw little of each other in recent years, they would chat when they ran into each other, Ulberg said.

The church said yesterday that it was doing all it could to support Wright's family, who had asked for privacy.

In the days leading up to her death Wright posted photos on social media websites of herself holding a large snake at Australia Zoo and another of herself skydiving. Her Australian friends revealed on Facebook they had been hanging out at the beach, taking selfies and climbing to the top of Q1, the tallest building in Australia.

Police were still trying to piece together the events leading up to Wright's death yesterday.

Neighbours reported hearing loud voices and noises coming from Tostee's apartment before she fell. There was no-one at the apartment when police arrived. Tostee later handed himself in to detectives and was questioned for about two hours before being released.

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Homicide detectives were called in but Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson, of Queensland Police, said that was simply a matter of procedure.

Tostee was already known to police for his part in a fake ID scam in 2004 that netted him and two friends $30,000.

- The Dominion Post

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