Remembering Anita Cobby
Random House Australia
On 4 February 1986, John Cobby’s life imploded. He was driving up the coast looking for his missing wife, Anita, when over the radio he heard: ‘The body of a naked woman has been found in a paddock in western Sydney.’ . . . As details emerged of the rape and murder of the gentle nurse and former beauty queen, outrage engulfed Australia. Five men were caught and, amid unprecedented security, jailed for life.
For young reporter Mark Morri, the case was a baptism of fire. Told to ‘find the husband’, he despaired: Cobby had changed his name and disappeared. But the Daily Mirror found him, and Morri’s interviews sold like hotcakes. For nearly 30 years, Morri and Cobby kept in touch.
In this book John finally opens up, recounting how he and Anita fell in love, suffered the pain of miscarriage and then went travelling. He also explains why they were apart at the time of the murder. Weaving in chilling material from the autopsy and police files, and interviews with detectives who hunted down the killers, Mark Morri explores the ripple effects of the murder that still shocks a nation.
This narrative focusses on the thirty years of emotional turmoil experienced by husband of the victim of a horrendous crime. The abduction and murder Anita Cobby is a crime that shocked a nation, a crime that changed attitudes regarding personal safety and security, a crime that defiled the innocence of a nation.
However this is not a book about the crime, or the victim or her family – this is an attempt by the author to verbalise the turmoil this negative life event exerted over the husband of the victim – John Cobby. Unfortunately I found most of this narrative slow going, repetitive and clichéd.
If the purpose of this book is to re-engage the public so as they will ensure that parole or resentencing is not allowed for those convicted on Anita Cobby’s death – then I think it has succeeded.