Tostee murder trial: Woman died trying to escape him, court hears

Gable Tostee (file)
Gable Tostee (file)

New Zealand tourist Warriena Wright was so scared of Gable Tostee that she fell to her death trying to climb off his 14th floor balcony at his Surfers Paradise unit, a court has heard.

Tostee, 30, is on trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to the murder of Ms Wright, 26, in the early hours of August 8, 2014.

Ms Wright's mother, Beth, burst into tears as Tostee entered his plea.

Prosecutor Glenn Cash told the jury on Monday that Tostee locked Ms Wright out on the balcony after putting her in a restraint and she died trying to get away from him.

Mr Cash said the crown case was there had been "an altercation" between the pair inside the unit in the minutes immediately preceding Ms Wright's death.

He said this culminated in Tostee physically restraining her in a manner that was "quite forceful".

He then forced her onto the balcony and locked a glass door into the flat, meaning "her only means of escape" was to try to climb down the building's exterior, the court heard.

Mr Cash said the prosecution would allege Tostee had, by threat and intimidation, made the tourist feel like this was her only option.

The trial is expected to hear from more than 20 witnesses including Ms Wright's sister and residents of the Avalon Apartments unit complex.

Mr Cash said the jury would hear extracts of a recording made by Tostee running for about two hours, including parts where Ms Wright sounds "increasingly fearful".

He said the audio would also feature Tostee telling his alleged victim she was "lucky" he hadn't thrown her off his balcony.

The court also heard Tostee called his father after Ms Wright fell to her death and told him the pair had had sex.

Mr Cash said Tostee told his father the woman was "really drunk" and started hitting him, presumably as a joke.

"I forced her out onto the balcony and I think she might've jumped off," he allegedly told him.

Mr Cash said a woman who lived directly under Tostee's unit in the Avalon Apartments complex would give evidence she went onto her balcony after hearing a female saying "no, no, no".

The court heard this witness would describe spotting legs dangling from the balcony above and then seeing someone fall.

The jurors also heard Tostee and Ms Wright had exchanged messages "sporadically" after meeting via the dating app Tinder on August 1.

NZN / Newshub.