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Tuesday 27 August 2013

Anita Cobby 'A Current Affair': VIDEO

You know how recounting certain events take you back to a time and place?

Watching the Anita Cobby story on 'A Current Affair' did that for me tonight.

Suddenly, it was February 1986.

I was 14, in Year 9, and school had just started for the year.

My father had died in December and I missed all of the remainder of the 1985 school year.

It was 1986, a fresh new year, and my best friend's birthday was on February 4. 

By then a crime had been committed two days earlier, on February 2, but in the age of no social media, details had only started to emerge.

There was news of a woman, at Blacktown (in Sydney's west), who'd been kidnapped by a car-full of men as she walked home.

A few days later, a female police officer - Debbie Wallace, I recall - donned similar clothing and re-enacted Anita's train trip home in the hope of jogging people's memory. Soonafter the NSW Government posted a reward for information on the killers - the $50,000 was deemed a lot of money back then.

After tip-offs, and a recording device planted on 'Miss X' (it's funny the details you remember), arrests were made: three brothers (Les, Michael, and Gary Murphy), and John Travers and Michael Murdoch. These were names Australians never forgot. The Anita Cobby murder also signified a kind of loss of innocence for Aussies, especially for women who suddenly didn't feel safe. Walking home from the station alone at night took on a new siginificance, now with a new level of terror, as women unfairly felt terrified doing what they'd done for eons.

The book 'Somebody Else's Daughter' (written by Julia Sheppard) was written and many talked about the horrendous details of Anita's death in the book. It still is one of the most harrowing books I have read to date.

The parents of Anita Cobby - Gary and Grace Lynch - were the most stoic, respectful people you'd ever seen, reserved in the face of such horror and adversity.

I recall they went on to become the founders of the Victims of Homicide Support Group, a community support network helping families deal with horrific crimes, and campaigned so hard in seeking 'truth in sentencing' laws.

Gary Lynch died age 90 in 2008, suffering from Alzheimer's, and Grace Lynch died of lung cancer in 2013, age 88.

The report this evening on 'A Current Affair' was centred around Anita's younger sister Kathryn. It was a breakthrough in that she has never publicly spoken to media about her sister, and the impact it had on her and her family. And how she is continuing the fight her parents started in honour of Anita.

Here is the video from this evening's ACA report.

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