Teen fell to death from balcony fleeing torture

Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS

Tortured for almost 30 minutes, Cian English broke free and fled to a Gold Coast apartment balcony trying to escape.

Tragically, the 19-year-old fell to his death.

Mr English and his friends had earlier started socialising with a group staying in the apartment directly above them in the Surfers Paradise complex in May 2020.

Lachlan Paul Soper-Lagas, Hayden Paul Kratzmann and Jason Ryan Knowles were among the group partying in the fourth floor unit above.

Throughout the evening both groups amicably interacted in each other's apartments.

However, all that changed after 1.40am when Mr English and a friend were accused of stealing Kratzmann's prescription drugs.

For 27 minutes Mr English and his friend were tortured and threatened with a knife, with their items and clothing stolen.

Throughout the ordeal, two girls - both aged 16 - filmed on their phones, later uploading nine videos on social media.

In one video Kratzmann looked directly into a phone camera and said: "This is what happens when you steal from me".

Kratzmann, Soper-Lagas and Knowles were unaware that the drugs had actually been stolen by an associate.

Mr English eventually broke free and ran to the balcony after Kratzmann twice asked: "do you want to get killed?".

It was most likely Mr English was trying to climb down to his unit below when he fell, crown prosecutor Caroline Marco told Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday.

"The escalating violence and continuing demands from the victims for their property until they virtually had nothing left to give was real and gave rise to a genuine fear ... in Mr English of further harm ... if he did not take action to flee the situation," Ms Marco said.

Despite knowing Mr English was lying critically injured from the fall, Soper-Lagas, Kratzmann and Knowles packed up and left.

More than 30 minutes after the 19-year-old fell, Kratzmann rang triple zero using a mobile phone stolen from Mr English's friend.

He told the operator he was a late night bike rider and had seen someone lying on the ground who was "not looking too good".

Kratzmann, Soper-Lagas and Knowles were later seen with clothing or property taken from Mr English and his friend, with the former posting pictures on Instagram.

"The wearing of the victims' clothing or items of their property by each of them ... and Mr Kratzmann then posting that photograph on Instagram like it was a badge of accomplishment ... is abhorrent," Ms Marco said.

Kratzmann later wrote crude graffiti about Mr English's death at a train station after breaking into a Queensland Health building.

He told police he was trying to "teach the victims a lesson" for lying and stealing from him.

Mr English was found unresponsive by emergency services and was pronounced dead at 3.53am.

He sustained multiple internal and external injuries from the fall.

Nine other injuries may have been sustained during the apartment ordeal, a pathologist said.

They included a 15mm- long, 16mm-deep stab wound near the elbow.

A large contingent of the English family - including some who had travelled from overseas - packed the court on Thursday.

Mr English's heartbroken mother Siobhan and brother Dylan were among the many who had devastating victim impact statements read in court.

Knowles, 25, Soper-Lagas, 21, and Kratzmann, 23, on Thursday pleaded not guilty to murder and had that charge withdrawn.

However, they pleaded guilty to manslaughter as well as other charges including two counts of torture.

They are set to be sentenced by Chief Justice Helen Bowskill on Friday.