Australia

Controversial 'Tinder death' interview airs in Australia

60 Minutes secured a controversial interview with Gable Tostee Image copyright Nine Network
Image caption 60 Minutes secured a controversial interview with Gable Tostee

An Australian man acquitted of killing a woman on a Tinder date has been asked if he is "heartless" in a controversial TV interview.

New Zealand woman Warriena Wright fell to her death from Gable Tostee's balcony on Queensland's Gold Coast in 2014.

Last month, Mr Tostee was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter.

Australia's 60 Minutes programme paid him A$150,000 (£90,000, $115,000) for Sunday's interview, local media said.

Mr Tostee and Ms Wright had met through the dating app Tinder. Their night of drinking and consensual sex deteriorated into a drunken physical altercation that ended when he locked her on his balcony. The New Zealand tourist fell 14 floors to her death less than 30 seconds later.

'Just in case'

The exclusive interview focused on Mr Tostee's recollection of the events and a 199-minute audio recording he made secretly on the night.

The same smartphone recording that was used in court to argue his guilt was also used to prove his innocence.

The audio reveals Mr Tostee saying: "You're lucky I haven't chucked you off my [expletive] balcony, you goddamn psycho little [expletive]."

Image copyright Queensland Police handout
Image caption Warriena Wright fell to her death from Mr Tostee's 14th floor apartment

The 30-year-old carpet layer revealed that he often recorded his nights out "just in case" something happened.

"I used to go out quite a lot drinking, I don't have the best memory when I drink," Mr Tostee said.

"It's better off having something and not needing it than needing it and not having it."

'Cold, heartless'

During the interview, Mr Tostee was quizzed about why he chose to lock Ms Wright on the balcony rather than eject her from his apartment.

"(The altercation) was a lot, lot closer to the balcony door, and it was wide open, and it was the logical option at the time," he said.

He also explained why he called a lawyer, rather than an ambulance or the police, immediately after Ms Wright fell.

"Nobody is trained for a situation like this. It's like being hit by lightning. There is no right or wrong way to proceed from there," he said.

"What had happened had happened, and there's nothing an ambulance could do to change that."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Gable Tostee leaves the Supreme Court in Brisbane, Australia, last month after being found not guilty

The reporter asked Mr Tostee if he could understand why some observers found him cold and heartless.

Mr Tostee replied: "When you put it that way, when that's all you say about a person, with no insight or explanation, you know, the media can make people think what the media wants people to think."

'Disgusting'

Mr Tostee's reported six-figure payment generated controversy in Australia before the interview.

As it aired on Sunday, social media users expressed anger at Mr Tostee's apparent lack of emotion over Ms Wright's death.

"Gable Tostee interview as bizarre as Donald Trump winning US election. Never heard of recording a night out 'just in case,'" said Cathy Anderson.

TV presenter Richard Haynes said: "Tostee is the style of bloke every dad hopes their daughter never ever, ever meets."

"Been a fan of #60minutes since I was a little girl but last night's disgusting Gable Tostee paid interview was the last straw!" tweeted Myra Rivadelo.

But others, such as David Blaney, said they found the interview compelling.

"I would say I'm surprised about the scathing #GableTostee tweets, but then again, this is Twitter, so I'm not surprised," he wrote.

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