Does the Gable Tostee case prove just how dangerous online dating can be?

When Warriena Wright matched with Gable Tostee on dating site Tinder, she didn’t think her decision to meet him would
Wariena Wright's first date with Tinder beau Gable Tostee ended up in tragedy. Photo: YouTube (@New News Trend).

When Warriena Wright matched with Gable Tostee on dating site Tinder, she didn’t think her decision to meet him would prove fatal. After having sex at Mr Tostee’s Surfers Paradise unit the pair had a violent drunken fight. Five hours after entering his high-rise apartment, Wright fell to her death from his 14th-floor apartment balcony on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Rather than triple-0, Tostee first called his lawyer,and then left his apartment via the basement, walked around the local nightclub precinct and bought a slice of pizza.

Jurors rejected the crown’s case that Mr Tostee had intimidated the New Zealand tourist, terrifying the 26-year-old so much as to cause her to scale his balcony to escape. A Supreme Court jury in Brisbane had struggled to reach a verdict, but it finally acquitted Mr Tostee of both murder and manslaughter, with the decision handed down just hours after defence lawyers called for a mistrial.

Gable Tostee has been found not guilty of killing Tinder date Warriena Wright.

Many resort to Tinder and similar online dating sites and apps to find their match but no one really saw the real danger online dating could pose to users until Warriena Wright fell to her death. Some argue if she and Tostee had not met that night through the online app, Wright would have still been alive. Imagine Wright meeting with someone who lives in a house instead of a highrise? The case has blown open the danger people are in when they agree to meet strangers.


Is online dating more dangerous than traditional dating like meeting someone through friends or family?

Starts at 60 community member Barbara Easthope thinks that any type of dating can be dangerous: “It is like trusting anybody in any relationship for the first time. Not all are worthy of trust,”

“Any dating is potentially dangerous for the first few dates until you have the measure of a person, but then how many women date and marry someone who eventually kills them or they have to flee.

“I certainly think online dating is an easier way for the predators to establish a bit of a rapport before the first meet and probably more dangerous as you aren’t seeing the real person on some occasions but a false face and possibly age and ethnicity,” said Easthope.

June de Ron said that first dates should be more conservative and have a focus on safety. “First date, on line or whatever, make it lunch with lots of people around. Get yourself there in your own car so you can make a quick exit if necessary,” said de Ron.

Does this mean online dating should be banned? Or should the users be left responsible to sieve through the list of potential dates and weed out the dangerous ones? Most of the Starts at 60 community members feel that a ban is not what the people need, instead common sense and prioritising safety when meeting a stranger should be the focus.

Not everyone think that online dating is just plain bad news. Another Starts at 60 member Jean Nentwig said, “I know someone who met their now husband of 8 years on an online dating site. They met each other once and had never met anyone else before, nor anyone else after and just clicked. 3 children later and they are incredibly happy still.”

Do you date online? Do you think online dating is more risky or is just as risky as other ways of meeting people?

  1. Geraldine  

    Definitely NOT!
    Yes, & yes.

    If ever a situation proved HOW risky online dating is, this is it.

    This poor excuse for a male still has got one more Judge to finally face.
    He will then know what TRUE justice really is!

  2. Kate Mary Mitchell  

    Yes it can be quite dangerous but so can life, This girl went on her own accord and agree to have sex with a stranger, she took her life because she was drunk and doing drugs, maybe she should not of left her alone on Balcony but he wasn’t to know she would try to climb down, Women can be as bad as men, so let’s not just believe what someone has written, He was found Not Guilty, and he will have to live with what happened for the rest of his life…We are not Judge and Jury, we were not there, I do know that if my Daughters went to a strangers place to have sex, i would lock them up in there rooms,…

    • Joy Anne Bourke  

      I totally agree with you. It was her choice to go with Tostee and have sex on a first date. Well, that tells you what she was like. Then with her drink and drugs attacked him and he locked her out on the balcony to protect himself. He left for her too cool down while he walked around. He called his Dad and lawyer to tell them what happened. She made the decision to try and climb a balcony 14 storeys up, which was a big mistake, who would do that, a bit stupid.
      Don’t believe everything you hear. Tostee will live with this all his life and I really think he did not know that she would do something so stupid. This could have been a different story if he did not record it. Maybe he has been recording all his Tinder dates and this was what he does in case of anything happening. I am glad he was found not guilty. He did not push her it was her decision.

    • I’d have convicted him just on that photo….him leering and she looking trapped! Joke Joyce but she obviously wasn’t enjoying herself.

  3. Gert  

    My first question is how does a carpet layer afford a Gold Coast High-rise flat?

    A woman should be safe going home with a man she doesn’t know to drink, do drugs and have sex, but in reality it isn’t..

    When this man locked her out on the balcony in the state she (and probably he) was in, he intimidated her and prevented her leaving his home normally. Whether she jumped or was pushed, is another matter but he certainly restricted her freedom. Except for the phone recordings, she could have died on the bed doing who knows what, and the problem of disposing the body was dead easy.

    As for the court case, if that member of the jury broke the rules, that’s it. She should have to face the consequences. A new trial would be expensive but what price justice? I suspect that because it was the end of the week, the judge et al were anticipating the break.

    Are jurors allowed to take their phones in with them or are they frisked first? Obviously some people can’t be trusted. The oath they swear to doesn’t mean a thing.

    • eloise  

      @Gert, the flat was $390 per week, not a stretch.

      The female in question assaulted the male and was trashing his apartment, this was the reason he became upset. He told her to leave and she would not, and fought him. This happened on the balcony ( a 4 x 5 metre area), so he left the struggle, and closed the door behind him to de escalate the situation and calm her down, and keep her out of his apartment becuase hse was trashing it. Within 12 seconds of that, she climb off to her death. Irrational behaviour. Its likely she was on drugs and had a brain snap or something, but the jury decided her behaviour was unreasonable, and his actions were reasonable under the circumstances.

      The juror broke a technical rule, but she did not compromise the case. she got a slap on the wrist.

  4. Diana  

    Online dating is here to stay, no doubt about that, however this case should be a wake-up call to young people who are meeting what is essentially a stranger. I met my husband through a dating agency – of course he had been “vetted” first but I – and all other clients, including men – were cautioned to make the first meeting during the day in a public place.

    We were told (not just encouraged) to tell a family member or relative where were going and with whom. Some women apparently had a friend sitting at a table nearby and a signal system worked out. I didn’t take my new male friend home for a long time and if I remember rightly – 28 years later – I met his parents before I introduced him to my teenagers. It is a measure of his courage and stamina, that he didn’t bolt as soon as he met them!

    These days, young girls are so silly that they will take a stranger’s word for anything. There was a documentary on TV a few months ago, where a young man – as an experiment and with parents consent – contacted and “talked” to three young girls who were about 15/16. He had told the parents that their daughter would open the door to him and the parents were convinced that their daughter wouldn’t do that, that they had drummed it into her head NEVER to do that.

    Of course, each of the young girls came out to meet him – one actually got into his van and got a terrible shock when her parents popped up from the back seat to confront her. The ones who answered the door were equally shocked when their father (in one case) and mother (in the other) confronted her standing by the side of the young man.

    I doubt these girls will learn a lesson, they all think it can’t happen to them – but sadly, we all know it can.

    I didn’t think that Tostee would be convicted – but I wondered why he just didn’t open the front door and tell her to go. Shutting her on the balcony was an ill-advised move, but I doubt that I would have expected her to climb over the balcony if I were in his place. Yes, he has to live with this for the rest of his life – and the notoriety as well.

  5. Online dating is the same as a girl hitchhiking. Getting in a car with a stranger.

  6. People I know well have had very successful relationships after meeting on an online dating site. I have also come to know their partners well over some years. One has been married to her partner for the past 12 years and have two very well adjusted children, another has been happily married for 10 years also with two lovely children. Another woman of my close acquaintance has had two relationships through online dating. The first relationship ended amicably by mutual agreement after 18 months and the second relationship has developed into an engagement. I am still a bit doubtful about online dating, but I recognise that if due care is taken it can be a very successful way to find love. Its like buying a house – you must do your due diligence – and buyer beware!

  7. What happened in this case is truly a sad turn of events. No matter how we look at it, there is one person dead and a family shocked by the sudden absence of a beloved sister, daughter and friend. Only the REALLY uninformed would venture a response like “online dating is the same as a girl hitchhiking. Getting in a car with a stranger.”. Really.

    Such a comment totally ignores the fact that thousands of people find friends, a date, sometimes a soulmate and yes, a spouse through online dating service. The vast majority of stories happen to have a happy ending, thanks to sites that offer online dating.

    On top of that, a date going wrong like this could have originated in the local convenience store, gas station, on the beach, in a bar, on a campus, or anywhere else where people go.

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