Australian Families of Crime- The Anita Cobby Murderers-1986. 2011 Documentary

Channel: Paul B

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*Warning- This program is graphic in nature*

Anita Cobby was an Australian registered nurse and beauty pageant winner. At 26 years old, she was abducted from Blacktown, a western Sydney suburb and raped and murdered at nearby Prospect in Sydney's west, on the evening of 2 February 1986. Five men, including three brothers, were convicted of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

On the day of the murder, Cobby finished work at Sydney Hospital at 3 pm and met friends for dinner in Redfern, Sydney. She then caught a train from Central Station to Blacktown Station. Arriving at Blacktown station she would usually ring her father to come pick her up but likely decided to walk home after finding the phone to be out of order. Aside from her killers, only two witnesses saw her after she left the train.
Once inside the car on Newton Road, Cobby had been ordered to strip off her clothes but refused, begging her attackers to let her go, saying she was married and that she was menstruating. Her attackers punched Cobby repeatedly, breaking her nose and both cheekbones, before forcing her to perform fellatio on all five men. Her attackers then drove to a service station to purchase fuel using money stolen from Anita's purse. She was then driven down Reen Road to a secluded paddock, while being held down in the car and raped repeatedly and being continually beaten by her five attackers. Then they proceeded to drag her into the paddock along a barbed wire fence to where they dumped the brutally beaten Cobby. After hiding from the man searching for them, one of the attackers, John Travers, returned to Cobby where he proceeded to slit her throat, almost decapitating her. She was conscious for at least 3 minutes as she bled to death. Cobby was reported missing by her family on the 3rd of February. Her body was found in a farmer's field on the 4th of February. Cobby's body had extensive bruising on her head, breasts, face, shoulders, groin, thighs and legs.
Detectives interviewed the passengers and showed them photos of Cobby whilst Constable Wallace walked the length of the train during the journey.

Following a tip-off from a police informant regarding a stolen vehicle, police started searching for John Travers, Michael Murdoch and Les, Michael, and Gary Murphy after they discovered that some of them had a history of violence and Travers had a reputation for carrying a knife.

While in custody, John Travers requested that a friend be called so she could bring him cigarettes. The phone number was handed to the investigating police who contacted the friend, a woman. The woman agreed to help with the investigation, met with an officer, and gave him details of Travers' background. The woman, who became known as Miss X, talked to Travers and he confessed the crime to her. Miss X was subsequently sent back in to talk to him with a recording device, with which she was able to obtain a confession.
Eventually, five men were arrested and charged with the murder. Police were praised for their quick response in capturing all suspects involved. In total, 22 days had elapsed from the time of the murder to the time all suspects were taken into custody.
The five accused suspects had over fifty prior convictions for offences including armed robbery, assault, larceny, car theft, breaking and entering, drug use, escaping lawful custody, receiving stolen goods and rape.

The trial began in Sydney on 16 March 1987 for the members of the gang lasted 54 days, with the men's defence relying on convincing the jury of their minimal involvement in the beating and murder. On 10 June 1987, all five men accused of the murder were found guilty of murder. On 16 June 1987, they were sentenced in the Supreme Court of New South Wales to life imprisonment plus additional time, never to be released. Justice Alan Maxwell described the crime as "One of the most horrifying physical and sexual assaults.
Cobby's parents were the founders of the Victims of Homicide Support Group, a community support group that helps families deal with heinous crimes. They also campaigned in seeking tougher sentencing and truth in sentencing laws which eventuated after Anita Cobby's murder. Anita Cobby's father Garry Lynch, a graphic artist with the Royal Australian Navy died on 14 September 2008, aged 90, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Anita Cobby's mother died of lung cancer in 2013, at the age of 88.


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