The true cost of keeping killers locked up
IT WAS a crime that was so unspeakably brutal that, once you've heard about it, you can never forget the face of Anita Cobby or imagine the hell she went through.
The vile gang rape and murder of the 26-year-old nurse from Blacktown in Sydney's west sent shockwaves through Australia shortly after the details of it emerged 32 years ago.
Even the most hardened police officers were reduced to tears when they heard the details.
So, despite calls for the death penalty to be reinstated for the five men who were found guilty of the young woman's killing - John Travers, Michael Murdoch and brothers Michael, Leslie and Gary Murphy - they were sentenced to prison for the rest of their lives.
Justice Alan Maxwell labelled it "one of the most horrifying physical and sexual assaults" and "a calculated killing done in cold blood".
However, the eye-watering cost of the sentence has now been revealed.
It costs $108,000 a year to house a maximum security prisoner. According to research from 7 News, over 32 years and adjusted to CPI, the Cobby killers have cost NSW taxpayers $17.28 million.
That is about the same as if they had stayed in a five-star hotel for 30 years.
Michael Murphy, 65, is dying of liver cancer and is still understood to have no remorse.
He is the oldest of the pack of killers who raped and almost decapitated the nurse in a field in western Sydney in 1986.
He has now been moved from Long Bay Jail to a secure palliative care ward.
Murphy was aged in his early 30s on the evening of February 2, 1986 when the five men spotted Ms Cobby walking home.
The registered nurse had been out for dinner with friends and got off at Blacktown railway station at around 10pm.
The men noticed the lone young woman from the car they were travelling in. They stopped, dragged her into the vehicle and drove 5km to a rural farm in Prospect.
It was there they took turns raping the 26-year-old before Travers slit her throat and left her to die.
Two days later, a farmer found Ms Cobby's naked body face down in the Prospect paddock.
She had been beaten, repeatedly raped and tortured, and had her fingers broken and bones dislocated.
When Michael was recently asked whether he would apologise to the family, he said: "Why would I f***ing apologise to anyone while you bastards leave me in this f***ing room and treat me like sh*t."
Retired Chief Inspector Gary Raymond, who was a detective on the case, said such was the impact of the crime, anyone from Blacktown who remembered it could also recall where they were the day Ms Cobby's body was found.
He knows where he was, and how it felt to every police officer and husband who had a wife or girlfriend at home.
What happened to Ms Cobby that night was something no human being should have endured, he said.
"What she went through … no one deserved to die like this," he told news.com.au
"Those men had no excuse for the brutal way they treated her. She was shown no mercy."