Friends defend Tostee over murder charge
Friends of Gable Tostee, the man charged with the murder of Wellington woman in Australia have vowed to stand by their mate.
Warriena "Rrie" Tagpuno Wright, 26, died in the early hours of August 8 after falling from Tostee's 14th-floor balcony at the Avalon Apartments in Surfers Paradise.
Tostee, after vehemently denying any involvement in her death, was charged with murder on Friday.
It is understood police will allege Tostee assaulted Wright and that she was trying to escape from his apartment when she died.
Australian media have reported police believe the case is similar to a 1986 murder case, where a woman fell to her death while climbing out a sixth floor window to flee her violent boyfriend - Kim William Royall - who was found guilty of murder.
Tony Ongart took to Facebook to support his mate.
''No matter how much hate from the media our mate gets, we always stick by our mates till the end including Gable Tostee,'' he wrote.
''There is no physical evidence that accuses him of being guilty. So go hate as much as you want, we don't care, it wont [sic] change our decision. In all these years he's stuck by us, and has never been a violent person. So we will back him up the whole way.''
Ongart's post received a mixed response and provoked much discussion about Tostee's guilt. Some of his friends agreeing and supporting Tostee, while others questioned Ongart's loyalty. Kristina Kyriakides replied saying she thought Tostee was innocent and posted a screenshot of a Facebook conversation she had with Tostee, understood to be from the early days of the investigation.
Tostee wrote about feeling bad about Miss Wright's death.
"I'd never harm anyone," he wrote.
"I feel so bad about what happened to her, and the media people have been making things up/spreading rumours.
"People I don't even know and never met claiming I've done something to them - easy to kick someone when they're down."
A comment from Haidee Todd had almost 50 likes:
''What if this poor girl was "made to die" too soon and this friend you have did have something to do with it. ..would you still stand by him?...point im [sic] making. .does the term "brother hood" mean stand by your friend even if he's destroyed the life of another human being and her loved ones?''
Another friend, Chloeanne Cortijo commented: ''To me a girl falling off the balcony looks like an accident or something else . Stabbing and shooting is murder. I believe he is innocent he seems to [sic] smart to of [sic] played this so stupidly . I hope he is ok and I hope he pulls threw this.''
Jessi-Lee Nugent commented: ''For this poor girl to have felt that scared and uncomfortable she tried to leave by balcony [sic] !!!! Wtf... No man should EVER put any girl in a situation like this.''
- The Dominion Post