Remembering Anita Cobby: The Case, the Husband, the Aftermath - 30 Years on
John Cobby was driving up the Pacific highway looking for his missing wife, Anita, when he heard a news bulletin on his car radio. "The body of naked woman has been found in a paddock in western Sydney. Police have not yet identified her." But John knew it was his wife Anita, and it changed his life forever. The murder of nurse Anita Cobby in 1986 enraged the city at first, but within weeks engulfed the entire nation when details of her injuries and the unspeakable acts by five men were revealed. Tuesday, February 4, 1986 is the worst day of John Cobby's life, and still is. After 30 years he is finally telling his story about his love for Anita, how they had just broken up and were planning to reunite on the eve of her murder. Within a year John had changed his name, fled overseas, used drugs for the first time in his life, and spent time in a mental institution in America. He gives a chilling account of the police interview where he is accused of killing his wife and even admits to it. Little is known about Anita's husband, John, also a nurse. He gave one interview to Daily Mirror reporter Mark Morri in 1987 after he tracked him down despite Cobby changing his name by deed poll to John Francis. He never spoke again. To this day even the detectives who worked on the case don't know his real name, where he lives, or what he is doing. For three decades crime reporter Mark Morri and John Cobby kept in touch, with Morri never revealing John's secret identity. In 2015 John rang him and said, "Its time."' Anita's murder had many victims, including her family and John's children Daniel and Erin, his sister Gaynor, and grandmother Stella. He wanted to tell his story and get his life back. The journey from the day he met Anita to now can be told including working in the hospital wing for years at Long Bay jail next to killers and rapists. The detectives who hunted down the killers give their side of the story with never before details revealed after police allowed the author unlimited access to homicide file of Anita Cobby. It's a case which, 30 years on, still shocks a nation. And finally this book tells the story of Anita's husband, John, in his own words.
Born in October 1961, Mark Morri grew up on Sydney's lower north shore, attending St Leo's college before joining News Limited as a copy boy in 1980 after finishing his HSC. As a crime reporter in the '80s, he worked at the Daily Mirror, covering the Sydney gangland murders, the Father's Day Bikie massacre and the abduction of Sydney schoolgirl Samantha Knight. Promoted to Chief of Staff, he still specialised in crime reporting, covering the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 and the backpacker murders by Ivan Milat. He worked for a brief time on the New York Post before coming back to the Daily Telegraph again as Chief of Staff. Over the past thirty-five years, Mark has covered nearly every major crime in Sydney, building contacts throughout the police force (and the criminal world). He is currently the crime editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph.