After being tortured for almost 30 minutes, Cian English finally broke free and fled to a Gold Coast apartment balcony.
Tragically, the 19-year-old fell to his death.
English and his friends had earlier started socialising with another group of people staying in the apartment directly above them in the Surfers Paradise complex in May 2020.
Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
Lachlan Paul Soper-Lagas, 21, Hayden Paul Kratzmann, 23, and Jason Ryan Knowles, 25, were among the group partying in the fourth floor unit above.
Throughout the evening both groups amicably interacted in each other’s apartments.
Jason Knowles, Lachlan Soper-Lagas and Hayden Kratzmann have pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Credit: 7NEWS
However, all that changed after 1.40am when English and a friend were accused of stealing Kratzmann’s prescription drugs.
For 27 minutes, English and his friend were tortured and threatened with a knife, with their belongings and clothing stolen, a court has been told.
Throughout the ordeal, two girls both aged 16 filmed on their phones, later uploading nine videos on social media, the court heard.
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 — who have pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter — were unaware the drugs had actually been stolen by an associate.
English eventually broke free and ran to the balcony after Kratzmann twice asked: “Do you want to get killed?”
It was most likely 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,” Marco said.
Cian English fell from a Gold Coast apartment balcony. Credit: 7NEWS
Despite knowing English was lying critically injured from the fall, Soper-Lagas, Kratzmann and Knowles packed up and left.
More than 30 minutes later, Kratzmann rang triple-0 using a mobile phone stolen from 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, including in an Instagram post, with clothing or property taken from English and his friend.
“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,” Marco said.
Kratzmann later wrote crude graffiti about English’s death at a train station.
He told police he was trying to “teach the victims a lesson” for lying and stealing from him.
Newborn baby seriously injured in alleged assault
Gold Coast girl, 4, dies suddenly after rare disease misdiagnosed
English was unresponsive when emergency services arrived and he was pronounced dead at 3.53am.
He had 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.
On Thursday, Knowles, Soper-Lagas and Kratzmann pleaded not guilty to murder and that charge was withdrawn.
They then pleaded guilty to manslaughter as well as other charges including two counts of torture.
A large contingent of the English family, including some who had travelled from overseas, packed the court on Thursday.
English’s heartbroken mother Siobhan and brother Dylan were among the many whose devastating victim impact statements were read in court.
Knowles, Soper-Lagas and Kratzmann are set to be sentenced by Chief Justice Helen Bowskill on Friday.
Woman dies from illness doctors claimed she was making up
Community in mourning as rising teenage footy star dies
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.