Thu. May 30th, 2024
alert-–-former-jetstar-pilot-greg-lynn’s-side-of-the-story-is-heard-for-the-first-time-as-he-stands-trial-for-the-alleged-murders-of-two-campers-in-remote-wildernessAlert – Former Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn’s side of the story is heard for the first time as he stands trial for the alleged murders of two campers in remote wilderness

Former Jetstar captain Greg Lynn has claimed elderly camper Russell Hill knifed himself in a struggle after he accidentally shot his secret lover Carol Clay, a jury has heard. 

On Tuesday, Lynn, 57, of Caroline Springs in Melbourne’s west, appeared in the Supreme Court of Victoria where a jury of 15 has heard the prosecution’s opening and his defence for the first time.

Police allege Mr Hill, 74, and Ms Clay, 73, were murdered while camping in the remote Wonnangatta Valley, in Victoria’s Alpine region, more than four years ago.

Greg Lynn outside the Supreme Court of Victoria at the start of his murder trial in Melbourne

Greg Lynn outside the Supreme Court of Victoria at the start of his murder trial in Melbourne 

The burnt out campsite of Russell Hill and Carol Clay

The burnt out campsite of Russell Hill and Carol Clay 

The jury was shown an image of what police allege is Lynn carrying away the bodies of Russell Hill and Carol Clay

The jury was shown an image of what police allege is Lynn carrying away the bodies of Russell Hill and Carol Clay 

In opening the trial, Crown prosecutor Daniel Porceddu told the jury exactly how and why Lynn allegedly killed the couple remains unknown. 

‘The precise circumstances of the killing are unknown, nor is the motivation,’ he said.  

The jury heard it was most likely a dispute over the use Mr Hill’s drone. 

‘It is likely there was a dispute regarding Mr Hill’s drone or vision captured on his drone,’ Mr Porceddu said.

‘There might have been an argument or confrontation between the men. It is not known how Mr Hill was killed.’

But in providing a brief defence, Lynn’s barrister Dermot Dann KC, claimed Mr Hill and Ms Clay’s death was the result of a tragic accident. 

‘We say not a case of murder, this is a case of two accidental, tragic deaths,’ he said.

‘Tragic accidental deaths in circumstances that were not of Mr Lynn’s making and not of his choosing.’ 

Mr Dann told the jury Mr Hill stole Lynn’s shotgun after he became enraged about Lynn playing loud music on the night he was killed. 

‘He went towards Mr Hill to try and get the gun back – to take control of the gun. Mr Hill fired the gun into the air and Mr Lynn initially took cover towards the rear of his car,’ Mr Dann said. 

Lynn would later tell police he was ‘scared sh**less’ by Mr Hill’s actions. 

‘He decided the only way to make things safe was to get his gun back,’ Mr Dann said. 

The jury heard Ms Clay was shot in the head by Mr Hill as Lynn tried to disarm him. 

Police allege Carol Clay was shot in the head and killed in March 2020

Police allege Carol Clay was shot in the head and killed in March 2020

Police allege Russell Hill was camping with Ms Clay when they were killed

Police allege Russell Hill was camping with Ms Clay when they were killed 

Upon seeing what he’d done, Lynn claimed Mr Hill dropped the gun and rushed over to his dead lover’s body. 

Mr Dann said Lynn picked up the gun and fired its remaining ammunition into the air before being set upon by an enraged Mr Hill. 

‘The next thing is Mr Hill’s advancing towards him with a knife screaming at him “she’s dead”,’ Mr Dann said. 

‘A struggle developed over the knife. Mr Lynn trying to defend himself – they’re locked in this struggle – and as part of that struggle the two men fall to the ground  and the knife goes through the chest of Mr Hill.’ 

The court heard Mr Hill and Lynn had argued earlier in the day about Lynn’s deer hunting so close to other campers. 

Mr Hill told Lynn someone close to him had been killed in a deer hunting accident and that he had drone footage of him that he would take to police.

‘Mr Lynn told him he was speaking nonsense and went back to his campsite,’ Mr Dann said. 

Later that night, Lynn decided to turn the volume in his car stereo up loud in an effort to annoy Mr Hill, the jury heard. 

‘He decided to annoy Mr Hill just as he thought Mr Hill was trying to annoy him,’ Mr Dann said. 

It was about 10pm when Lynn noticed Mr Hill had got into his car and stolen his 12-gauge shotgun. 

When he approached Mr Hill, Lynn claimed he was told to ‘f**k off’.  

The court heard Ms Clay screamed in terror as Lynn struggled to disarm Mr Hill. 

 

Greg Lynn is accused of changing the colour of his vehicle from grey to beige

Greg Lynn is accused of changing the colour of his vehicle from grey to beige

Greg Lynn as he appears in court during his murder trial

Greg Lynn as he appears in court during his murder trial 

Police believe Mr Hill was killed first as he would have likely called for assistance or resisted had Ms Clay been killed first. 

‘The prosecution alleges Mr Hill was most likely killed first in part this is because Mrs Clay is very unlikely to have provoked a violent confrontation involving the firearm or have posed any threat to the accused other than having witnessed or been aware of Mr Hill’s violent death,’ Mr Porceddu said.

‘If he had been alive Mr Hill could also have readily called for assistance if he was aware that Mrs Clay had been shot.’

The jury heard Ms Clay was allegedly shot in the head by Lynn with a 12-gauge ‘Barathrum’ branded shotgun. 

Lynn is then accused of trying to cover his tracks.

‘It is alleged the accused made considerable efforts to contaminate the scene, conceal evidence and try to distance himself from what appeared,’ Mr Porceddu said. 

The court heard Lynn allegedly moved the couple’s bodies by placing them in his trailer after setting fire to their tent and an area near Mr Hill’s vehicle in the hope of hiding forensic evidence.

Photos of Mr Hill’s burnt out campsite and damaged vehicle were shown to the jury.

A vehicle towing a trailer which police claim was Lynn carrying away the couple’s bodies was also shown. 

Mr Porceddu said Lynn took their wallets and cash, phones, Mr Hill’s drone and car keys before packing up and driving away with the bodies. 

In the early hours of March 21, a witness was woken by a vehicle towing a trailer that drove past his site. 

Police allege it was Lynn attempting to escape in the early hours but was hampered by a closed road, forcing him to perform a tricky u-turn. 

Images of the bush scrub Lynn is alleged to have dumped the couple’s bodies were shown to the jury. 

The jury heard Lynn later changed the colour of the 4WD he used to cart the bodies away from grey to beige. 

He also allegedly removed an awning on the vehicle after an image of his vehicle appeared on a 60 Minutes program highlighting the mystery of the missing campers. 

At the time, police had been listening to Lynn on secret bugs hidden within his home as he watched the current affairs program. 

The jury heard Lynn remarked he had only been in the area for four hours that day and he found the incident ‘not funny’. 

Greg Lynn was a Jetstar captain when he allegedly committed the murders

Greg Lynn was a Jetstar captain when he allegedly committed the murders 

On April 1, 2020, Lynn advertised his trailer and other items on Gumtree.

Prosecutors alleged he sought to dispose of the trailer because it held forensic evidence linked to Mr Hill and Ms Clay. 

On May 12, after Victoria’s Covid restrictions were lifted, police allege Lynn returned to where he dumped the couple’s bodies to ensure they were still hidden. 

In November that year he allegedly returned to the scene again and burnt the bodies, dumping what remained in a hole.  

Fragments of the couple’s bones were later found by police in the area.  

The court heard Mr Hill and Ms Clay had been childhood sweethearts who had been carrying on a secret relationship since 2006. 

Mr Porceddu said Ms Clay had expressed excitement about going on the camping trip with Mr Hill in the days before she was killed. 

Mr Hill told his wife he would be gone for about a week before heading out to pick up Ms Clay from her Pakenham home. 

The couple travelled together to an area in the valley known as Bucks Camp. 

Witnesses claimed they parked in a vicinity close to where Lynn had set up his camp a day earlier. 

The jury heard Mr Hill – a keen amateur radio operator – had spoken to mates on the radio on the evening of March 20. 

Witnesses claimed Mr Hill appeared fine and indicated no signs of conflict or distress. 

A friend gave Mr Hill directions on how he could leave the valley. 

He was never heard from again. 

Police allege Lynn murdered Mr Hill and Mrs Clay that night.

Lynn has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.

The trial opening continues.  

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