Anita Cobby's husband breaks 30-year silence, speaks out about her murder.


After 30 years, Anita Cobby’s husband John has broken his silence over the brutal rape and murder that shocked the nation.

Cobby, who was a prime suspect in the killing, says after all these years, he still feels responsible for his wife’s death.

“You don’t want to keep living… I feel responsible, I’m sorry I let her down,” Cobby tells journalist Steve Pennells in a special that will screen tonight on Channel Seven.

Seven News Investigates: Anita Cobby. You Thought You Knew It All is the first time Cobby has spoked to the media about the case.

“For 30 years I’ve been in hiding, blaming myself for her death. I was the husband of Anita Cobby,” he says in the special.

A 26-year-old nurse and former beauty queen, Anita Cobby disappeared on February 2, 1986, walking home in Blacktown in Sydney’s west.

She was dragged kicking and screaming into a stolen car by five men, including three brothers, and driven to nearby Prospect where she was gang-raped, tortured and killed.

Police initially suspected John Cobby was behind his wife’s murder, and forced a false confession out of him in an interrogation. In the days after the murder, Cobby changed his name and fled Australia, to escape the case.

It later emerged that the attack was the work of John Travers, Michael Murphy, Leslie Murphy, Gary Murphy and Michael Murdoch, who repeatedly raped Cobby, brutally bashed her and eventually slit her throat.

The severity of the attack shocked the community, and caused widespread outrage.

Cobby says he has never gotten over his wife’s murder and now he is speaking out.

“It destroyed my life. These men should have been executed.”

On tonight’s TV special a tape of a confession by Michael Murphy recorded secretly by a friend of the five men will be heard publicly for the first time.


“Miss X” broke the case open for police in 1986 when she secured a brief confession from Travers in a conversation that was also taped.

After that, she made contact with Michael Murphy and told him she knew everything.

“Mick, I’m sorry, I saw John today,” The West Australian reports she told him.

“He told me everything.

“I know everything all right about what happened.

“I know it all.”

Pennells told that Cobby still doesn’t know the names of the men who killed his wife.

“He still doesn’t know the names of the people who killed her, he’s avoided that his whole life,” he said.

In the special, Pennells talks to some of the police officers that worked on the case, and says they are still affected by it today.

“These are hardened police officers and I talk to them and their eyes well up in tears. They get angry, even 30 years later it still brings up all this emotion. To actually see grown men cry about a crime that happened 30 years ago, it’s extraordinary.”

The special comes as at least two of Cobby’s killers are seeking parole and improved conditions in jail, where they are serving life sentences without the prospect of parole.

“To deny access to rehabilitative programs and services to the most serious offenders is not only unconstitutional, but could have an adverse impact on the security and the operation of the correctional system. Inmates who have very little to lose who suddenly find themselves with absolutely nothing to lose and with no hope left, can become unpredictable and pose a high risk to other inmates, staff and prison officers, along with the general operation of the correctional centre,” the letter says.

Seven News Investigates: Anita Cobby. You Thought You Knew It All airs at 9pm, February 8.