Gable Tostee opens up in his most in-depth interview ever. Picture: Jerad Williams.
Gable Tostee opens up in his most in-depth interview ever. Picture: Jerad Williams.

Gable Tostee: in his own words

GABLE Tostee became a household name for all the wrong reasons three years ago.

In August 2014, New Zealand tourist Warriena Wright, 26, plunged from the 14th-floor balcony of his Surfers Paradise apartment after the pair met on online dating app Tinder.

Seven months ago, Tostee was acquitted of Ms Wright's murder.

For the first time, the 31-year-old - now known as Eric Thomas - talks about life today, his dreams, family, social media and reaching out to Ms Wright's family.

On life now …

I've been living (at Palm Meadows) since the apocalypse. That's what I call it. I think it's appropriate because when that happened, everything changed.

I basically moved back in with my parents and I've been staying there since.

It's not too bad (living back at home) but it just makes me feel like a teenager again.

(I called it the apocalypse) from the moment I realised the girl I was with had just disappeared off the balcony and something serious had happened ... It's like something off a horror film or one of those Final Destination kind of moments.

It's still surreal. It's no less surreal. It's one of those things you can't really process. It's one of those things that's not supposed to happen.

But it is what it is and you've just to cope with the situation the best you can.

On how he coped ...

I always meant to study architecture formally but I figured being on bail was the perfect opportunity to actually put my head down and study. It's just about making the most of the situation, really.

On the night and whether with hindsight he would have done things differently …

Well, of course, but we don't have hindsight when we act. It's easy to sit back and point the finger after the fact and say, "He should have done this, or this, or this".

Do you wish you'd never met?

Warriena 'Rrie' Wright
Warriena 'Rrie' Wright

Of course.

On making contact with Ms Wright's family …

It's the first thing I wanted to do after the incident. And it was the first thing I wanted to do after the trial.

After the incident my lawyer said you can't talk to anyone. That's always their advice and who am I to question someone who has dealt with situations far more extraordinary than anything I've ever been through?

And the first thing I wanted to do after the trial was just give them my condolences but what we heard back was that they didn't want to hear from me, so I just respected that and there is nothing much you can do - that's their choice.

It wasn't about me. They are the ones that lost their daughter. I had just been acquitted so that was my closure, as far as I was concerned.

I just thought I owed it to them to offer them my condolences.

On the justice system …

The biggest problem with it (the justice system) is that the first chance you get to defend yourself is more than two years.

You've got an accusation and that's punishment in itself.

As soon as you've been accused it's like being kicked down a hole and it's up to you to climb your way back out.
There are still people that don't accept the court's outcomes.

People who just scream stuff like "Oh, but, OJ (reference to OJ Simpson)" as if to say just because OJ got acquitted … therefore everyone who has been acquitted is guilty and that's just stupid logic.

On whether the public will always see him as guilty, despite the acquittal …

It's probably inevitable isn't it?

You can't change everyone's mind.

You can't change the way everyone thinks.

Some people can't be convinced. If you could reason with stupid people there wouldn't be stupid people.

On how women react to him now …

It depends on the individual.

That's all I can say really. I mean, there is nobody who has actually thought that I was a dangerous person and has wanted to get with me for shits and giggles or anything like that.

The only people I've really met have been decent people who have seen through all the crap.

On the "celebrity" status … If I go out at night, at least a couple of times people will come up and say "Can I get a pic?" or shake my hand or something.

It's inappropriate. I mean, it's not like you've achieved something to get that kind of response from people. I think people just see it as a novelty.

On clubbing now …

I don't go out so much these days. You can't really have fun if you think everyone is watching you or recognises you.

But it's not like you can wander round and have a night out on the town, kind of thing - be anonymous.

Being recognised by people is not something I asked for.

On clubbing before …

I lived in the middle of Surfers, it was kind of too easy just to walk out the door.

I only ever drank socially if I was going out.

I never just wake up and pull a beer out of the fridge. I drank a lot (when I lived in Surfers), often by accident ... I'd pass out pre-drinking.

Nine News

On being a ladies man …

People can make their own minds up about that.

If you do a bit of digging around. I mean, they (the media) try to make it sound as if I posted up conquests or something online.

It's garbage. It's no different to what most guys have done. But when you're in the spotlight and everyone digs up everything you've ever written, they can make it look like whatever they like.

On being on remand …

Every day was like Groundhog Day.

It (prison) was the most mind-numbing pointless place you could imagine. Everyone was in there for a different reason, but I mostly kept to myself. What other people were in there for was none of my business and obviously, I had my things to worry about.

There really isn't much to do. You get a TV and that's it. It's literally like a waiting room.

On the evening of the acquittal ...

I had a few drinks with my brother and my girlfriend at the time. It (the acquittal) felt like something that was long overdue.

On going to New Zealand after the trial …

I went for a weekend, papers would have you believe otherwise. They said I went there on a one-way ticket. I didn't. Or maybe I did? Maybe I'm still there now …

On the blonde in the courtroom …

We went our separate ways. We had been together since March or April that year … I'm single.

On Tinder …

I've got an account but I'm not constantly wearing out my thumb on it. I've met a couple of girls since but it's not like the good old days - I barely had a thumb left.

On Facebook trolls …

I don't accept (everyone) as a friend, I post things publicly and also privately ... I'm not trying to hide and I'm not afraid of addressing serious questions.

People will believe whatever they want.

There is a portion of the population who are silent and they don't voice their opinions because they haven't committed to an opinion yet. That's the sensible thing to do.

On the human race …

I never watch the news or anything … I always knew it was a load of crap ... As far as humanity goes, I'm generally optimistic.

We wouldn't be here if good things didn't prevail. We've had that many chances to blow ourselves up. Nuke ourselves off the world. But that hasn't happened yet.

On faith …

By faith do you mean believing in something blindly? That's how I see faith. I'm not a religious man.

I never have been. I believe in what is real to me.

What I perceive. I'm always open to changing my mind about things, too.

Technically I'm agonistic, I guess. I mean is there a God or isn't there?

Gable Tostee, now Eric Thomas, hasn’t shied from public life. His first Facebook appearance after his trial was to celebrate drinking a record-setting milkshake.
Gable Tostee, now Eric Thomas, hasn’t shied from public life. His first Facebook appearance after his trial was to celebrate drinking a record-setting milkshake. Facebook

On life now …

I've been doing a lot of sleeping lately. I'm still kind of in a bit of a recovery mode after running on stress for almost two and a half years.

I guess it's one of those normal physiological responses.

On the name change …

A lot of people say they prefer my old name. But I'd always been meaning to change it, it just wasn't practical. You can imagine the shit people gave me in school for a name like that.

On his parents …

My relationship is good. It's always been good. It's more flatmates now. My mum fills the fridge up … I have to tell her not to buy stuff … You've gotta watch the gut ...

On body building …

I was into working out casually. I don't know why they (the media) called me a "body builder".

That was ridiculous.

Just because you casually lift or post on a forum, that doesn't mean you're a body builder.

Body building is a competitive sport and I've never been into that.

On the press …

On the whole it's been pretty unethical, pretty disgusting the way they've portrayed things.

I mean the way media works in telling a story is they make the reader or the viewer assume things by only releasing certain information.

When you're telling a story what you don't say speaks just as loudly as what you do say.

… A lot of people thought (I pushed her).

The headlines say "Accused balcony killer" and what do you picture when you see that?

I mean if they wanted to be more accurate they should say "Accused door killer" or something. The fact I wasn't even on the balcony and I was never accused of (that) ... The way the media worded things and what they insinuated for their narrative was just completely different to what actually happened.

On putting Ms Wright on the balcony …

Like I said, we don't act with hindsight. You think, "Well, there is a door there that can separate the two of us".

You're being attacked. You think you're doing the most sensible thing and you think that will just defuse the situation.

Something completely freakish, completely unexpected happens ... It's totally unforeseeable.

On why you didn't put her out the front door …

A lot of people say that.

The front door wasn't there. The balcony door was there. You don't weigh up, "Well, is this person going to climb off a 14-floor balcony?".

That doesn't occur to you.

When someone is attacking you and you're trying to get them away from you, it doesn't even come into the equation.

You think, "If I can just get the person away from me, figure out what to do next, call security or management or something to take her away properly".

I mean that's more responsible than just shoving a drunk person out the front door to make a ruckus to the neighbours or possibly get herself in trouble or injured.

There is nothing inherently unsafe about a balcony, unless you climb over it ... It's just … there is nowhere to go.
It's certain death. It just doesn't make sense and you can drive yourself crazy wondering what was going through her mind but you never know. You just can't know.

On leaving the Coast …

The Gold Coast is a small town … I probably won't stay long-term.

On starting family …

No (I don't want to get married and have kids).

I didn't like being a kid; I just wanted to be an adult. When I was a kid I just wanted to be an adult so I could do my own thing.

On being a history buff …

It's fascinating seeing where people were back then and where we are now.

When I was a kid I was obsessed with ancient Egypt.

It's part of humanity. Trying to figure out if we've changed, how much we've changed, how much of that is because of culture, or our brains, I just find it fascinating.

On writing a book …

A lot of people have said I should write a book.

There is a lot to be said. When you are at the pointy end of such a high-profile event, you've gone through the criminal justice system, the media, the court of public opinion; you gain a certain insight into things.

It can't exactly be summed up in a few words. If it could help to inform people or share an experience someone might not know about, then it could be an idea. But I struggle writing an essay, so …

On Schapelle Corby …

It will be interesting to see what the media makes out of that, whether they will harass her for weeks on end. It will be interesting to see if she goes in any milkshake drinking contests, but if she did I'm sure we'll hear about it.

On friends …

I haven't lost any friends. Because everyone that knows me knows the truth and knows that it's not what the papers are telling them.

In fact, the people who criticise me or hate me the most are the ones who know me the least. It's not surprising because ignorance is so much louder than understanding.

On recording audio …

I don't get off on recording things.

If nothing happened, then I don't go listening to a recording of a night on the town. It's only in case something happens I've got it there.

It's like saying, "Why put surveillance cameras in shopping centres or building?"

It doesn't matter where you go, you're on camera. So why not? In some countries everyone has a dash cam ... Why not record it if it can save you in some way? It has in the past before this.

There was a girl who stole my wallet from my apartment and I managed to get it back because of a recording.

There was another time on Australia Day 2014 I was arrested and charged with public nuisance and obstructing police and that charge got dropped because I had my phone on record that evening and it turned out (police) falsified the fact sheet ...

On wealth …

Another big myth is that we're millionaires. My dad is a carpet salesman and my mum is a primary school teacher but just because we live behind a gate, people think we're rich … everyone lives behind a gate on the Gold Coast.

On golf …

You come out here (to Palm Meadows Golf Club) and you could be anywhere. Everything is all hidden from the outside world.

When I was a kid I was kind of forced to play golf. Dad said: 'You've got to come out here and hit the 100m sign else you can't play Nintendo tonight'.

On food …

Stuffed crust BBQ meatlovers pizza is my favourite food. There is something about the cheesy crust. They phased it out for a few years and then they brought it back and I was like: 'What, where did this go? I can't live like this'.

On film …

My favourite movie recently is probably Wolf of Wall Street.

On school …

I hated school. I was just sitting up the back of the class drawing caricatures of teachers, spinning a book on my finger, staring out the window, doing anything to avoid doing school work.

On after school …

After school I was done for the fake IDs. It was kind of an accidental business.

My best mates were a couple of months older.

I tried to make my own ID and people heard about it and it just snowballed. It was stupid. Was just a stupid teenager thing to do.

After school, I was designing a few spec homes with my dad. I did part time carpet-laying. It was good money and I only had to work two or three days a week.