Russell Hill and Carol Clay: court documents reveal why police allege Gary Lynn killed missing campers | Australia news
Two campers may have been killed after a fight over a drone before their alleged murderer left a hotel room covered in blood, court documents show.
Greg Lynn, a former airline pilot, is charged with murdering Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, who went missing in March 2020 while camping in the Wonnangatta Valley, east of Melbourne.
Lynn, 56, faced the Melbourne magistrates court this week for a committal hearing, which will determine whether there is enough evidence for him to stand trial.
According to a statement released by the court to the media late on Tuesday, Victoria police forensics officer Mark Gellatly was asked to examine material related to the case based on information provided by missing persons squad detectives.
The information provided to Gellatly was that Lynn may have been annoyed by a drone flown by Hill and Clay, and confronted them about it before retreating to his own camp site. Hill allegedly then grabbed Lynn’s gun from his car, the pair wrestled for control of the weapon, causing it to discharge and shoot Clay dead, and, as the fight progressed, Lynn stabbed Hill to death.
A hotel room in the region was said to be left with numerous bloodstains after the incident, according to the officer’s statement, all of which were cleaned apart from a possible stain on a bathmat.
The information contained in the statement represents the first complete account about how police believe the pair may have been killed.
A redacted summary of the police evidence in the case that was also released late on Tuesday outlined details including that Lynn had allegedly returned to the crime scene, but nothing about how or why the pair were killed.
Another witness told the court this week of seeing a drone in the area on the night the campers were allegedly killed.
The police summary also detailed a camping trip Hill took by himself earlier in March, during which he asked other campers if they minded whether he flew his drone above their camps.
Gellatly’s statement, dated July last year, also details that he examined two swords, a pick-axe and more than 20 knives, including throwing knives and a blade known as a Gurkha, that were seized from Lynn’s property by police after he was arrested in November 2021.
Possible blood was detected on seven of the items but further testing could not confirm this and they were not examined further, Gellatly said.
Before the police summary was released on Tuesday, magistrate Brett Sonnet cautioned the media that while the summary gave an overview of the police case, it did not comprise all their evidence, and much of the summary was contested by Lynn.
Lynn is not required to enter a plea until the end of the committal hearing but Sonnet said it was expected he would plead not guilty.
In the summary, police alleged Lynn had a confrontation with Hill and/or Clay some time after 6pm on 20 March 2020 which led to him killing them.
“The circumstances of their deaths and the accused’s behaviour afterwards are consistent with the accused having intended to cause death or at least cause each of them really serious injury,” police said in the summary.
“The accused contaminated and staged the crime scene, intentionally destroyed evidence within the crime scene, and removed evidence from the crime scene before transporting and disposing of the bodies and mobile devices to further conceal his involvement and distance himself from the crimes.
“In May 2020 and/or November 2020, the accused returned to the bodies of Hill and Clay, where he further tampered with the human remains to dispose of the deceased. This involved burning, dispersing and partially interring them.”
The remains of Hill and Clay were discovered in bushland after Lynn was arrested.
The committal hearing will continue on Friday when Sonnet will hear an application by Lynn’s lawyer, Dermot Dann KC, for a suppression order.
The hearing is expected to again hear evidence from witnesses on Monday.