Listen: Gary Raymond speaks to Katrina Roe about ‘Grace’s Place’.
Grace Lynch was a gracious, kind, respectful woman, with a tenacious faith in God, and a heart of love that rose about evil.
She was also the mother of a murder victim: Anita Cobby, the young nurse gruesomely raped and killed in Western Sydney in 1986.
Better known as ‘Peg’, Grace developed a unique ‘ministry’ after losing her daughter, which grew out of her painful experiences: she would go to meet with families who had lost someone to murder, and spend time with the children.
Chief Inspector Gary Raymond, one of the police detectives involved in the Anita Cobby case, remembers Grace’s kind and gentle way with these traumatised kids.
“We watched her (Grace) interact with children left behind after a homicide, and she would leave the adults in the room and be directed to children,” he said in an interview with Hope 103.2. “Her heart went out to them, she engaged with them in conversation, played little games with them, to try and get them back into some normality. “
A Refuge for Families of Murder Victims
It’s fitting, then, that a new world-first residential facility for children and other family members left behind after a homicide, is going to be named ‘Grace’s Place’, in memory of Grace Lynch who died in 2013.
The trauma centre is being set up by the Homicide Victims Support Group, an organisation established by Grace and Garry Lynch, and others including Peter Simpson, the father of Ebony Simpson.
On Tuesday September 19, there will be a fundraising night for Grace’s Place, held at Blacktown Worker’s Club. Gary Raymond will be one of the speakers. He said a refuge of this kind is desperately needed.
“[In my time in policing] I’d go to crime scenes, where very sadly the Dad had killed his wife, and there were children left behind,” Gary recalls. “And we had a dilemma: what do we do with them at 3 o’clock in the morning? With Grace’s Place, we’ll be able to transport them there and we’ll have mental and medical professionals on-call that will come in. The early hours of that grief is really important to establish how they will go the rest of their lives.”
Anita Cobby’s younger sister Kathryn Szyszka, who will also speak at the fundraiser, has said she is glad that young people in the situation she faced will be given specialised care; something she didn’t have access to at the time of her sister’s death.
Great Good Borne Out of Evil
Gary Raymond remembers when the idea for supporting families who go through what Anita Cobby’s family went through, was birthed.
“It’s after the crime that people go into a lot of depression,” Gary said. “I used to drop in [on Garry and Grace Lynch] for a cup of tea, and I was there one day with them both, and Garry suddenly turned to me and stared at me, and grabbed my hands and squeezed them, and said, ‘Gary?’. I said ‘Yes mate’, and he said, ‘Something good has to come out of something so bad’. And I said, ‘It’ll happen’.
Tickets for the fundraiser night are available through Blacktown Worker’s Club and are selling fast. To make a donation towards the work of Grace’s Place head to the Homicide Victim’s Support Group website.