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‘He knew he had murdered them’: Greg Lynn covered up campers’ deaths to conceal his crimes, court hears

In Europe
June 11, 2024

The only reasonable explanation for a former Jetstar pilot to cover up the deaths of two elderly campers in the Victorian high country was because “he knew he had murdered them”, the state’s supreme court has heard.

Gregory Stuart Lynn, 57, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, at a remote camping site in the Wonnangatta Valley in March 2020.

Closing arguments in the double murder trial began on Tuesday in the supreme court.

Crown prosecutor Daniel Porceddu told the jury that the prosecution’s case was about the “deliberate” and “protracted series of actions taken by the accused to disguise his involvement in and the manner of their deaths”.

“The most extreme of those actions is the burning of the bodies,” he said.

Porceddu said Lynn’s actions after the alleged murder were designed to remove “forensic evidence which could reveal anything about the manner in which they died”.

“He knew he had murdered them and, if the scene had been left as it was, the forensic evidence would reveal that fact,” he said.

Porceddu told the jury to remember that, due of Lynn’s actions, very little forensic evidence remained.

He said the prosecution’s case rested on established evidence, not testimony from Lynn’s 2021 police interview, after his arrest.

Porceddu told the court the prosecution rejected Lynn’s account that the deaths were “a series of unfortunate events”.

“Like the book series of that name, it is all complete fiction,” he said.

Porceddu said Lynn’s account was implausible that, by the former pilot’s account, Hill had gone from “cordial to homicidal rage” despite other campers describing the elderly man as a “friendly” person who “loved to chat.”

“He would not have approached Mr Lynn, he would have made himself safe,” he said.

He said Lynn’s story about an altercation that turned fatal is implausible because, by his account, Hill confiscated his shotgun despite raising concerns about him deer hunting with his rifle. The prosecution said Lynn’s account that Hill also found the right ammunition for the shotgun and then loaded it was implausible.

“If Mr Hill’s plan was to confiscate the firearm, he would put it in his car, canopy or tent. So why load it?” Porceddu said.

Porceddu told the jury that during Lynn’s police interview, he never mentioned the presence of a rope tied between the bull bar of Hill’s Nissan Patrol, where the former pilot says was where they struggled over the shotgun, and a tent used as a toilet. He said, by Lynn’s account, the pair would have become entangled in the rope.

Lynn last week told the court he didn’t see it and it did not get in the way.

But Porceddu said the rope “ruins the whole account.”

“The so-called struggle for the gun is the whole linchpin in the accused’s story. Once that falls like a house of cards, everything else tumbles with it,” he said.

He said the prosecution did not know the exact motive or circumstances around the alleged murder, but told the court “it was common sense to conclude there was a disagreement,” likely over Hill’s use of a drone.

Porceddu said Lynn then killed Clay because she was a witness in the violent murder of Hill.

He the defence’s focus on the affair was “not an issue in this case”.

“You might have a view on this, you might not. It is not what this case is about,” he said.

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The prosecution has alleged Lynn killed Clay and Hill with murderous intent.

Lynn’s lawyer, Dermot Dann KC, previously told the court that the deaths were the result of a tragic accident, and that his client had “made a series of terrible choices” to cover them up. Lynn’s account is that Clay was shot in the head after he and Hill struggled over control of the former pilot’s shotgun after a dispute.

Lynn, the defence’s only witness, told the court last week that, after Clay was accidentally killed, Hill then dropped the gun. He said Hill then came towards him with a knife and, while the pair struggled, it accidentally plunged into the older man’s chest.

He maintained he was innocent of murder and said he had no reason to kill Hill and Clay but conceded his actions after the death, including disposing and burning their bodies, were “despicable”.

The trial continues.

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