One of Australia’s longest-serving inmates was allegedly assaulted in the same prison shower block on the same day as Anita Cobby’s killer Gary Murphy.
Prison officers were told Allan Baker, who with Kevin Crump raped and murdered mother-of-three Virginia Morse in 1973, was attacked in Long Bay jail last Tuesday.
The crimes Baker and Crump committed against Mrs Morse appalled Australians just as the murder of Ms Cobby did the next decade and both have been behind bars more than 45 years.
Baker was apparently attacked about three hours after at least six inmates set upon Murphy, one of the five men who raped and killed Ms Cobby.
And just like Murphy, Baker has told authorities he fell over in the shower at the Metropolitan Special Programs Centre (MSPC).
‘That’s happened to him a few times, mate,’ said a source familiar with Baker’s decades in custody.
‘He’s very careless in the shower. He’s slipped over a few times since he’s been in the system.’
The same source said it might be time for Corrective Services to have a good look at the safety of the shower facilities at Long Bay.
‘I’d suggest they do a risk assessment of the showers and see what the problem is because there’s a lot of people falling over in them.’
Unlike Murphy, who was severely bashed and had to be taken to St Vincent’s Hospital for injuries to his head, face, ribs and lungs, Baker appeared to be uninjured.
Baker was moved to 10 Wing at the MSPC from Goulburn on June 19, five days before the shower incident.
Murphy had been transferred to the same wing just one day before he was assaulted. The attack on him took place shortly before 10am while Baker was allegedly assaulted about 1pm.
Prison authorities were unable to confirm what happened to Baker because he refused to identify his assailants or even admit that he had been touched.
‘Corrective Services NSW investigated reports that a 71-year-old inmate had been assaulted,’ a departmental spokeswoman said.
‘There is no evidence that such an incident occurred. Further the inmate denies any such incident. No further action will be taken.’
Baker suffers from several medical problems including diabetes and mobility issues.
The full details of what Baker and Trump did to 35-year-old Mrs Morse have never been made public.
The pair first met in prison and joined up for a crime spree upon their release.
While driving a stolen vehicle they shot dead 43-year-old farm labourer Ian Lamb at Narrabri in north western New South Wales November 1973 in what was described as a thrill killing.
Days later the pair kidnapped Mrs Morse from her family’s homestead near Collarenebri while her husband Brian and three children were away.
They subjected Mrs Morse to 22 hours of atrocities including repeatedly raping her while she was tied to a tree.
Once on the other side of the Queensland border one of the men shot Mrs Morse between the eyes and they both rolled her body into a river.
Baker and Crump were captured near Maitland in the Hunter Valley ten days after Mr Lamb’s murder and have been in custody ever since.
Because Mrs Morse had been killed outside the NSW jurisdiction the men were convicted of conspiring to murder her, as well as murdering Mr Lamb.
In sentencing them to life Justice Robert Taylor said: ‘You have outraged all accepted standards of the behaviour of men.’
‘The description of “men” ill becomes you. You would be more aptly described as animals, and obscene animals at that.
‘I believe that you should spend the rest of your lives in jail and there you should die. If ever there was a case where life imprisonment should mean what it says – imprisonment for the whole of your lives – this is it.’
Baker and Crump were two of ten murderers – including Anita Cobby’s killers – subject to a special Act of the NSW Parliament passed in 2001 which ensured they could never be released.
Gary Murphy, along with his brothers Michael and Leslie, John Travers and Michael Murdoch, were originally jailed for life over the rape and murder of 26-year-old Ms Cobby in 1986.
His prison bashing was investigated by police and prison authorities but the 61-year-old refused to co-operate with their inquiries, claiming he fell over in the shower.
Both Baker and Murphy – who has been in maximum security for 36 years – would be in line for a further dose of ‘prison justice’ if they named those who assaulted him.
It appears the inmates who attacked Murphy were aware he was being moved from Goulburn and were ready to bash him when he arrived.
The murder of 26-year-old Ms Cobby shocked Australia and led to calls for the reintroduction of the death penalty after her naked, broken body was found in a paddock at Prospect in western Sydney.
Ms Cobby had been kidnapped while walking from Blacktown railway station and pack raped. Having been dragged through barbed wire into a paddock, her throat was slit with a knife.