During the 54-day trial, the jury heard evidence from the dozens of witnesses, but it was the words of the accused and their own records of interview that would be their undoing. Each statement varied from the others but they were unified in three things: that the police had beaten the statements out of them and they were forced to sign them under threat of death; that their individual part in the crime was minimal and it was the others who committed the atrocities; and it was John Travers who cut Anita Cobby's throat.
From the five statements of the accused, the jury heard what really happened on that awful night on Sunday, 2 February I986. Travers and his gang had spent most of the Sunday afternoon and evening drinking at the Doonside Hotel and they were all pretty drunk. They decided to go for a drive in a car that Travers had stolen a week earlier and steal a woman's bag for gasoline money. The lone woman walking down Newton Road with her bag slung over her shoulder was the perfect target. They stopped the car in front of Anita Cobby and Travers and Mick Murdoch jumped out and dragged her in. They told police later that there was no particular reason for choosing Anita Cobby: "She just happened to be there at the time and John [Travers] wanted her." Within seconds of being in the car, Anita was ordered to take her clothes off, but she refused. She repeatedly told her assailants: "Leave me alone. I'm married." Travers and Murdoch started ripping her clothes off and punching her in the face and about the back of the head. Les Murphy leaned over from the front seat and punched Anita in the face while Michael Murphy slapped her. Anita put up a violent struggle but she had no chance against the gang.
They held their nude hostage on the floor of the back of the car while they pulled in a garage to get gasoline with money stolen from Anita's purse. On the way from the garage to Reen Road, Travers and Mick Murphy raped Anita at knifepoint in the back seat while the others examined the contents of her bag.
Halfway down Reen Road, they stopped the car and threw their naked victim into a ditch where John Travers, Gary Murphy and Les Murphy took turns raping her. Gary Murphy forced Anita to perform oral sex on him.
The five men then picked the semi-conscious Anita up and dragged her through the barbed wire fence, causing long, deep cuts to her flesh. The sobbing young woman could offer little resistance. She had been so badly battered and kicked that she could hardly walk. The gang carried and dragged her to the middle of the Boiler Paddock and threw her to the ground
As Anita begged and pleaded to be let go, Mick Murdoch raped her again while Michael Murphy forced her to have oral sex with him. After they had finished, Les Murphy sodomized Anita. While Travers raped her again, Gary Murphy and Mick Murdoch tried to force Anita to have oral sex with them both at the same time. But they couldn't get erections.