Pilot admits ‘accidental deaths’ of camping couple

Greg Lynn admitted accidentally killing two campers but denied murder or manslaughter.

Greg Lynn admitted accidentally killing two campers but denied murder or manslaughter.

A pilot has given his version of events that led to the deaths of campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay, admitting he was involved but claiming they were killed accidentally.

Greg Lynn, 57, has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter over the couple’s deaths in Victoria’s Alpine region on March 20, 2020.

On day one of his trial on Tuesday, his defence barrister told the Supreme Court that Lynn admitted to police that he was accidentally involved in their deaths — and had tried to cover it up.

“I’m innocent of murder, I haven’t behaved well, I’ve made some poor decisions, but murder, as I understand it, I’m innocent of,” Dermot Dann KC said, citing what Lynn told detectives in his interview.

Dann outlined Lynn’s bombshell story, including an argument and struggle that he said led to the unintended deaths of the couple.

He said Lynn — who had brought two guns with him — had been hunting at the remote location near Bucks Camp in the Wonnangatta Valley.

When he returned to the campsite he became aware of a drone flying above that was operated by Hill.

At about dinner time, Lynn went over to Hill’s campsite and asked him about the drone.

Hill voiced his issues with Lynn about deer hunting near the camping grounds and threatened to show police footage of Lynn, Dann alleged.

“Mr Lynn told him he was speaking nonsense,” he said.

He said Lynn went back to his campsite and started playing loud music from his car stereo to annoy Hill.

Lynn claims he heard some noises around his car and then saw Hill walking away. Believing he had his gun he followed Hill and asked him for it back.

“Mr Hill told him to ‘f*** off’,” Dann said.

“Mr Lynn, you’ll hear and see, explains to police that Mr Hill lost his temper, that loud music had obviously disturbed Mr Hill late at night.”

Dann said Lynn went to get his gun back from Hill, when the 74-year-old fired it into the air.

Lynn said he took cover at the back of Hill’s car and tried again to get his gun back, with a struggle taking place.

‘She’s dead’

The accused double murderer claimed in a “chaotic scene” Hill discharged the gun and a bullet went through the car mirror.

“That same shot, tragically, shot Mrs Clay in the head,” Dann said.

Hill ran over to Clay, Lynn retrieved his gun and then Hill ran towards Lynn, with a knife, screaming “she’s dead”.

In a struggle over the knife, as Lynn tried to defend himself the knife went into Hill’s chest, Dann alleged.

He said Lynn then made “series of terrible choices” because he feared he would be blamed for the deaths.

“He tried to make this disaster somehow go away,” Dann said.

“He embarked on a series of actions which, he recognised in that record of interview, only made his whole situation so much worse.”

He said Lynn packed up the campsite and put the bodies in his trailer before setting fire to the couple’s site.

He then allegedly removed the knife Hill used, took the drone and the couple’s phones before driving into the night with their bodies.

Lynn went to the Union Spur Track, near Dargo, and buried the couple before driving home to Melbourne, Dann said.

He admitted he returned to the site when COVID-19 lockdown ended, in May 2020, and then again November when he burned their remains.

“He describes being physically sick, scooping up the remains of the fire,” Dann said.

Missing campers

The search area for the remains of Russell Hill and Carol Clay in Victoria’s alpine region.

Lynn told police about the location of Hill and Clay’s remains during his interview and helped them find it, he said.

But Dann told the jury Lynn was not guilty of murder or manslaughter as the prosecution would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the deaths were not accidental.

“The prosecution will have to disprove his account,” he said.

Earlier, crown prosecutor Daniel Porceddu accused Lynn of intentionally murdering the couple.

“The prosecution alleges Mr Hill was most likely killed first because Mrs Clay is very unlikely to have provoked a violent confrontation involving a firearm other than having witnessed or been aware of Mr Hill’s violent death,” he said.

He said Hill, who was a radio enthusiast, would have been able to readily call for assistance if Clay had been shot first.

The trial continues.

— with AAP

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