Accused burned remains as plan unravelled: court hears

Tara Cosoleto |

Greg Lynn’s police interview was played to his murder trial jury.
Greg Lynn’s police interview was played to his murder trial jury.

Realising his plan to stay off the police radar was unravelling, Greg Lynn set fire to the remains of the two missing campers he is now accused of murdering. 

Lynn’s admission came in his hours-long interview with Victoria Police, which was played to a Supreme Court jury on Tuesday.

The former airline pilot is on trial, accused of murdering Mr Hill, 74, and Mrs Clay, 73, in March 2020. 

Victoria Police informant Detective Sergeant Brett Florence
Detective Brett Florence said police began tracking Lynn’s car once Victoria’s lockdown ended. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

It’s alleged Lynn killed the couple at Wonnangatta Valley, in the state’s northeast, and then disposed of their bodies in bushland before coming back months later to burn the remains.

Lynn, 57, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.

In his November 2021 interview, Lynn told police Mrs Clay was accidentally shot in the head as he and Mr Hill tussled over his shotgun. 

Mr Hill had taken Lynn’s gun and was threatening to show police drone footage of the pilot hunting deer near their campsite, Lynn told the officers. 

He claimed after Mrs Clay was shot, Mr Hill then came at him with a knife and was stabbed in the chest in the ensuing tussle. 

Lynn told police once he realised they were both dead, he used his experience as an airline pilot to formulate a plan to “save” himself. 

“I was finding a really happy place in the world with family and career and my personal life outside of work, so this for me was a disaster,” he said in the police interview.

Lynn said he decided that covering up his connection to their deaths was the best course of action, so he loaded their bodies onto his trailer and burnt the campsite.

Carol Clay and Russell Hill (file image)
Greg Lynn is accused of murdering Carol Clay and Russell Hill and disposing of their bodies. (HANDOUT/VICTORIA POLICE)

He then drove to the Union Spur track where he dumped their remains.

“The objective was not to make them disappear, it was to make me disappear,” Lynn told police.

The pilot said he tried to go back to normal life but he started receiving some odd questions and then police came to his home in July 2020. 

“I realised it was unravelling,” Lynn said.

“I realised I had to go back … I had to wait for the (COVID-19) lockdowns to finish and the roads to open up, and I steeled myself for the task.”

Lynn told police in November 2020 he returned to the Union Spur track where he set fire to the remains of Mr Hill and Mrs Clay.

He admitted he vomited several times as the bodies burned, saying the smell and the memories were confronting.

At the end of the police interview, Lynn remained emotionless as he was told he would be charged with the murders of Mr Hill and Mrs Clay.

When asked if he had anything to say, he told police he was innocent of murder.

“I haven’t behaved well,” he said.

“I’ve made some poor decisions but murder, as I understand it, I’m innocent of.”

Tendered photo of area where the remains were found (file image)
Greg Lynn told police he waited for lockdown to end before returning to dispose of the bodies. (HANDOUT/SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA)

Detective Senior Constable Brett Florence told the court police began tracking Lynn’s car in December 2020, once Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown had ended.

They kept surveillance on the vehicle on-and-off through to November 2021, when they arrested and charged Lynn with the double murders. 

The police surveillance unit also photographed Lynn’s car parked on a public street in October 2020, painted a beige colour instead of its original grey.

Police seized the phone of Lynn’s wife, Melanie, after his arrest and found a photo of Lynn painting the vehicle on June 4, 2020. 

Lynn also listed his trailer for sale on Gumtree on April 1, 2020, before taking down the advertisement two days later, Detective Florence said.

The trial continues.