The rape and murder of Anita Cobby is arguably the best-known murder in Sydney, on account of the particularly horrific circumstances of the crime. Cobby was a 26-year-old nurse working at Sydney Hospital who was kidnapped by five men in a stolen car on 2 February 1986, while walking home from Blacktown Station after work. She would normally have called her father for a lift, but on that night the phone was broken and there were no taxis.
She was taken to Prospect and savagely beaten, raped and murdered by John Travers, Michael Murdoch, and the brothers Michael, Gary and Les Murphy. All were sentenced to life in prison.
The murder and subsequent trial drew enormous publicity, and contributed significantly to the increasing fear of people in Sydney that they or their loved ones might one day be the victims of violent crime. Anita’s parents Garry and Grace were founding members of the Homicide Victims Support Group, which continues to do important work today.