Police have finally laid out their case against former Jetstar pilot Gregory Lynn, who they allege murdered elderly Victorian campers Carol Clay and Russell Hill.
Lynn appeared in Melbourne’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday in a preliminary hearing which will decide whether there’s enough evidence against him to face a Supreme Court of Victoria jury trial. He is facing two murder charges over the disappearance of Clay and Hill, who made national headlines after they vanished while camping in Victoria in March 2020.
During the hearing, it was revealed for the first time how police allege Clay and Hill were killed.
Police allege it was “likely” the campers interacted with Lynn who was camping nearby on the day they arrived, per news.com.au.
The last time anyone heard from Hill was via radio on March 19, 2020. Police allege it was later this evening that a confrontation took place with Lynn over the use of a drone.
It was revealed earlier in the hearing that Russell Hill had a drone which he is thought to have flown over other campsites. A witness — who had been on the camping grounds at the same time as the couple — described the drone as rude, per 9 News.
Victoria Police forensic officer Mark Gellatly claimed in a statement to the court that police believe the drone annoyed Lynn, which led to a confrontation between him and Hill. It’s alleged a scuffle between the two men broke out which resulted in Clay and Hill’s deaths.
Greg Lynn’s barrister Dermott Dann QC said Lynn claims Hill tried to wrestle a shotgun off him. Police allege Hill grabbed the shotgun from Lynn’s vehicle. Both claim that the scuffle resulted in the firearm going off, killing Carol Clay instantly. Police allege the ensuing fight ended when Lynn fatally stabbed Hill.
“The two were wrestling over the gun causing an accidental discharge … which struck Ms Clay in the head while positioned on the near side of Hill’s vehicle,” Dann said, per Daily Mail Australia.
Gellatly told the court a stain that was possibly Clay’s blood was found on Hill’s Toyota Landcruiser, but further testing was inconclusive. It was suggested this was because of heat from the fire that burned through the couple’s campsite.
Police will allege Lynn set fire to Carol Clay and Russell Hill’s camp to conceal what happened. The remains of their campsite were found burned on March 27 by other campers.
Police will allege Lynn loaded their bodies into his trailer and dumped them in the surrounding bushland, before returning in May and November 2020 to burn the bodies.
“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 given to the court alleges, per news.com.au.
“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.”
Police claimed Lynn’s behaviour after the alleged murders suggested he “intended to cause death or at least cause each of them really serious injury”.
Greg Lynn was first interviewed by police in July 2020 after his Nissan Patrol was captured leaving the area around the time Clay and Hill disappeared. According to Detective Senior Constable Abbey Justin, he was just treated as a witness.
Police secretly recorded the interview and by December 2020, they had Lynn under surveillance with listening devices, GPS trackers and telephone intercepts.
Lynn was allegedly heard referring to the deaths of Hill and Clay while talking to himself in the following months, the court heard.
Lynn has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has denied the allegations against him.