The case against ex-pilot Gregory Lynn, accused of the murder of missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay in Victoria’s high country, has finally been laid out.
Mr Lynn, 56, was arrested in November 2021, more than 20 months after Mr Hill, 74, and Ms Clay, 73, vanished from their remote campsite in the Wonnangatta Valley.
In a summary of the police case provided to the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, police outlined their allegations against the former Jetstar pilot.
Police allege the March 19, 2020 camping trip ended in tragedy, with Ms Clay shot in the head and Mr Hill fatally stabbed, after a fight over a drone.
It’s alleged Mr Lynn returned to the area in May and November 2020 where he is accused of trying to ‘destroy’ the couples’ remains by setting them on fire.
Mr Lynn has denied murdering the pair, and lawyer Dermot Dann KC said the allegations against his client are ‘heavily in dispute’.
Mr Hill and Ms Clay, childhood sweethearts who had rekindled their relationship 15 years prior, had allegedly travelled to the remote ‘Bucks Camp’ on March 19, 2020, to spend some quality time together.
The case against ex-pilot Gregory Lynn, accused of the murder of missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay in Victoria’s high country, has finally been laid out
When the pair arrived, police believe it is ‘likely’ they engaged in some way with Mr Lynn, who had allegedly set up camp there the day before.
About 6pm on March 19, Mr Hill made contact via high-frequency radio with an amateur radio group, who reported him sounding ‘normal’, a police summary of facts reads.
It’s alleged in the document that sometime after this conversation a confrontation between Mr Lynn and Mr Hill broke out and they were killed.
In a separate statement provided to the court by forensic expert Mark Gellatly, he claims police informed him they believed Mr Lynn was annoyed by Mr Hill’s drone and confronted the pair about it before returning to his campsite.
He said crime scene investigators believe Mr Hill then allegedly grabbed a shotgun from Mr Lynn’s vehicle, before a physical fight broke out between the two men and the gun discharged.
It’s alleged Ms Clay, who was standing near Mr Hill’s car, was fatally struck in the head, with an ensuing fight between the two men, ending when Mr Lynn fatally stabbed Mr Hill.
The burnt remains of the campsite were discovered on March 27 by a camper, just one day after Mr Hill’s wife reported him missing.
‘We walked up to the site and I could see things didn’t look right and decided we should call the police,’ camper Colin Boyd said in a statement provided to police.
Police will allege Mr Lynn then returned to the area in May and November 2020 where he is accused of trying to ‘destroy’ the couples’ remains by setting them on fire.
Court Sketch of Gregory Lynn appearing at the Melbourne Magistrates court
Gregory Lynn’s car was allegedly resprayed after the deaths
Police will allege Mr Lynn set fire to the couple’s camp in an effort to conceal what happened, and had loaded the bodies into his trailer and dumped them in bushland.
‘The accused made immediate and overt efforts to contaminate the crime scene and conceal the offences, including destroying evidence and setting fire to the scene,’ the police summary tendered to the court reads.
‘The accused is also likely to have discarded the drone, car keys for the Landcruiser and Hill and Clay’s mobile phones.
‘To date, none of these items have been recovered.’
The statement further alleges the circumstances of the couple’s deaths and Mr Lynn’s behaviour afterwards suggest he ‘intended to cause death or at least cause each of them really serious injury’.
According to the summary of facts, Mr Lynn returned home in the afternoon on March 22.
Greg Lynn’s employment with Jetstar was terminated after the allegations came to light. Picture: Supplied
Russell Hill and Carol Clay’s burnout campsite photographed by a camper near Dry River track at Billabong in the Wonnangatta Valley
Mr Lynn was first interviewed by police in July 2020, after his Nissan Patrol was captured by automatic number plate recognition cameras leaving the area around the time Mr Hill and Ms Clay disappeared.
Missing persons squad Detective Senior Constable Abbey Justin told the court that at that time he was considered a witness.
She quizzed Mr Lynn in the kitchen of his Caroline Springs home about his movements through the park and his vehicle’s colour, with the interview secretly recorded.
Police alleged he repainted his vehicle and sold the trailer to ‘conceal his involvement’.
Mr Hill and Ms Clay’s remains were discovered in November 2021
By December 2020, Mr Lynn was allegedly under surveillance with GPS trackers, listening devices and telephone intercepts.
At various points over the coming months, he allegedly referred to the deaths of Ms Hill and Mr Clay while talking to himself.
He was arrested on November 22, 2021, while camping at a secluded site near Arbuckle – about 20km south of where Mr Hill and Ms Clay were allegedly murdered.
Their remains were allegedly discovered at the base of a fallen tree later the same month.
Crime scene investigators returned to the Wonnangatta campsite in March 2022 where they allegedly located a piece of human skull, linked by DNA to Ms Clay, and a piece of lead near where the couple’s tent had been set up.
Forensic testing to determine whether the lead was related to firearms and ammunition seized from Mr Lynn’s home is ongoing.
Mr Lynn has faced the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this week for a committal hearing in which Magistrate Brett Sonnet will decide if there is sufficient evidence against him to be tried in the Supreme Court.
The former pilot has denied killing Mr Hill and Ms Clay and his response to the charges has never been aired in public.