Here's what we learned in the first week of Greg Lynn's murder trial (2024)

Lawyers for a former Jetstar pilot accused of murder say the deaths of an elderly couple in Victoria's remote high country were a "tragic" accident, but prosecutors allege it was a double murder which might have followed a dispute over a drone.

A Victorian Supreme Court jury has spent the week hearing evidence about the alleged murder of Russell Hill and Carol Clay, two campers aged in their 70s who went missing after a trip in the Wonnangatta Valley in March 2020.

Former airline captain and hobby deer hunter Greg Lynn, aged 57, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.

His trial is underway, with jurors hearing from a dozen witnesses this week.

In total, more than 100 witnesses could take the stand during the trial, which could take up to six weeks.

Here are some of the things we've learnt so far.

Greg Lynn's lawyers say he is not guilty of murder or manslaughter

Earlier this week, Mr Lynn's legal team, led by defence barrister Dermot Dann KC, told the court it was a case of "two accidental, tragic deaths".

Mr Dann told jurors they will eventually hear some of this explanation from Mr Lynn's own mouth — when a video of his interview to police is played later in the trial.

While that hasn't happened just yet, jurors were told Mr Lynn's police interview details how a disagreement with retiree Russell Hill over drone footage of Mr Lynn deer hunting escalated into a confrontation resulting in two accidental deaths.

Here's what we learned in the first week of Greg Lynn's murder trial (1)

Mr Dann told the court how on the evening of March 20, 2020, this dispute resulted in Mr Hill taking Mr Lynn's gun — resulting in a "chaotic scene" in which the two men struggled for control of the weapon.

Defence lawyers said there wasan accidental discharge of the gun during that struggle and a shot hit Ms Clay in the head, fatally wounding her.

Once Mr Hill realised his lover was dead, he ran at Mr Lynn with a knife screaming "she's dead," the court heard.

In the defence's version of events, a struggle followed in which "the two men fall to the ground" and the "knife goes through the chest of Mr Hill".

Defence lawyer Mr Dann summarised that Mr Lynn's account is of two "accidental deaths" and asked jurors to find him not guilty of murder or manslaughter.

Here's what the defence and prosecution agree on

It is not disputed by either side, that Mr Lynn, and alleged victims Mr Hill and Ms Clay, were camping at the same site — a place called Bucks Camp — on the 20th of March, 2020.

This week the court heard from multiple witnesses that placed people who looked like Mr Lynn, and Mr Hill and Ms Clay, in the area at the time.

Even the idea there may have been some dispute over the drone, or drone footage, is agreed on by both sides.

Two weed sprayers who were working in the area at the timegave evidence that they saw a drone fly over their own campsite nearbyon the night of the alleged murder.

Here's what we learned in the first week of Greg Lynn's murder trial (2)

Crown prosecutor Daniel Porceddu told Victoria's Supreme Court it was "likely that there was a dispute regarding Mr Hill's drone or vision captured on his drone".

But in conflict with the version put forward by Mr Lynn's barristers, they said it was more likely Mr Hill was killed first and that the couple were killed with "murderous intent," rather than by accident.

Mr Porceddu told the court the evidence of "violent deaths of two people in close proximity" point to the pair being killed "deliberately and without lawful justification".

He also told the court the way Mr Lynn acted after the deaths, including contaminating the crime scene, moving, and later burning the bodies, amounts to "incriminating conduct" that implies an offence had taken place.

Defence agree Mr Lynn made a 'series of terrible choices'

The court has heard the prosecution will allege Mr Lynn's actions after the deaths included setting fire to the couple's campsite, taking their mobile phones and Mr Hill's drone, and moving the bodies to a remote location.

Later the court heard the prosecution will argue his actions included things like trying to get rid of a trailer he used to move the bodies, which has never been recovered, and painting his four-wheel-drive a different colour.

Jurors were told Mr Lynn returned to the scene where the bodies were hidden not once, but twice, and burnt them, something his defence team admits he did even though it made him "physically sick".

Here's what we learned in the first week of Greg Lynn's murder trial (3)

Mr Lynn's defence barrister told the court Mr Lynn behaved in this way because he worried that he was "going to be wrongly blamed for their deaths".

"He embarked on a series of actions which he recognised … have only made his situation and this whole situation so much worse," Mr Dann told the jury on Tuesday.

Russell Hill and Carol Clay were 'childhood sweethearts', court hears

The court heard from several witnesses, including a pair of mushroom-foraging Serbian campers, who saw the elderly couple in the Wonnangatta Valley area in the days before their disappearance.

It also heard from witnesses who knew the pair personally and told the jury what they were like as people.

Here's what we learned in the first week of Greg Lynn's murder trial (4)

A longtime friend of Russell Hill, Robin Ashlin,described Mr Hill as a former "workaholic" who "kept a lot of stuff to himself," who was also a "pretty fit lad for his age".

Mr Ashlin, a Gippsland business owner who had known Mr Hill for more than 25 years, told the jury the friends shared a hobby in long distance radio and enjoyed the outdoors.

Mr Ashlin told the court Mr Hill had initially introduced Ms Clay to him as a "friend" but he was not convinced.

"You can look at people and the way they look at each other … blind Freddy can work out whether it's a friend or a relationship might be there," he said.

He told the court he later found out that Mr Hill and Ms Clay were "childhood sweethearts" and that Ms Clay had been "around and on the scene for 20 years".

Here's what we learned in the first week of Greg Lynn's murder trial (2024)


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