Anita Cobby (Anita Lorraine Lynch)

Anita Cobby

Anita Cobby was born on 2 November 1959, to Garry Bernard Lynch, a graphic artist with the Royal Australian Air Force, and Grace “Peggy” Lynch, a nurse. As a teenager she participated in beauty pageants and had a promising career as a model, but decided instead to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a nurse. She met her future husband, John Cobby, while studying for her nursing degree. They married on 27 March 1982. At the time of Anita Cobby’s 1986 murder, the couple had separated and Cobby was living with her parents in Blacktown, New South Wales. According to John Cobby, he and Anita were on good terms and were planning to reconcile when she was murdered. Anita Cobby worked in Sydney and commuted daily from her home in Blacktown. On the day of the murder, Cobby finished work at Sydney Hospital at 3 pm and met friends for dinner in nearby Redfern. She then caught a train from Central Station to Blacktown Station. Arriving at Blacktown station she would usually ring her father who would pick her up. On the day of her death she most likely decided to walk home after finding the phone to be out of order and no taxis available. Aside from her killers, only two witnesses saw her after she left the train station.

Anita Cobby was walking alone from the train station along Newton Road, Blacktown around 10 pm, when the gang of five men drove up beside her and stopped their stolen HT Holden Kingswood. Two men leaped from the car and dragged her into it, kicking and screaming. A 13-year-old boy and his younger sister heard someone screaming from their house directly opposite and had gone outside in time to see Cobby forced into the attackers’ car. The boy ran across the road to help but the car drove off before he reached it. Returning home he telephoned the police to report what he had seen. A few minutes later their older brother arrived home and after being told of the abduction drove off to search for the car. He eventually drove down Reen Road (now known as Peter Brock Drive), Prospect (a local “lovers’ lane”), and stopped by an empty HT Holden where he used a spot light to search the adjacent paddock. Seeing nothing in the paddock and believing the car he was looking for was a different model Holden he decided to return home. The attackers later stated that they had hidden in the long grass to avoid the spotlight and waited for the man to leave.

Once inside the car on Newton Road, Anita Cobby had been ordered to strip off her clothes but refused, begging her attackers to let her go, saying she was married and also 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 Cobby’s purse. She was then driven down Reen Road to a secluded paddock, while being held down in the car, raped repeatedly, and being continually beaten by her five attackers. They then dragged her into the paddock along a barbed wire fence where they dumped the brutally beaten Cobby and continued to sexually assault and physically abuse her for some time. According to his taped confession, one of the attackers, John Travers, then became concerned that Cobby could identify them because she had seen their faces and heard their names, and convinced the other attackers that she must be killed. Urged on by the others, Travers slit her throat, almost severing her head. The medical examiner later testified that after Cobby’s throat was cut, she would have died within two minutes.

When Anita Cobby did not return home, her family initially thought she was staying overnight with a friend, but after learning that she failed to appear at work the next day, they reported her missing on 3 February. On 4 February, her nude body was found in the paddock by the farmer who kept cows there. Her body was initially identified by her distinctive wedding ring, which was still on her finger when she was found. According to the medical examiner’s report, Cobby’s body showed extensive bruising on her head, breasts, face, shoulders, groin, thighs and legs consistent with “a systematic beating”, including a “blow of considerable force around the right eye”. She also had lacerations on her hips, thighs and legs from the barbed wire, several cuts to her neck resulting in the severing of her ear and windpipe and near decapitation, and many cuts to her hands and fingers resulting in the near severing of three of her fingers, which likely occurred when she raised her hands to her face trying to protect herself from the knife. Her eyes were still open when her body was found, indicating that she had seen her killer inflict her fatal wounds. (The medical examiner also testified that contrary to some radio reports made after the crime, Cobby was not mutilated apart from the slashing of her throat and hands, there had been no attack with a knife on her stomach or genitals, and her shoulders had not been dislocated.)

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  • November, 02, 1959
  • Australia
  • Sydney, New South Wales


  • February, 02, 1986
  • Australia
  • Prospect, New South Wales

Cause of Death

  • homicide


  • Pinegrove Memorial Park
  • Minchinbury, New South Wales
  • Australia

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