Fresh details of secret lover camper Carol Clay and Russell Hill’s final hours

Fresh details of secret lover campers’ final hours: Witnesses tell of the last moments they saw couple alive before they were allegedly shot dead by Jetstar pilot and their bodies burned

  • Missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay were allegedly shot dead in bush
  • Gregory Lynn, 55, was arrested and charged in February with their murders 
  • The human remains were allegedly burnt by Lynn after he allegedly killed them 
  • Lynn took notes throughout the preliminary hearing on Monday morning 

The final hours of allegedly murdered secret lover campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay have been revealed. 

The badly burnt remains of Ms Clay, 73, and Mr Hill, 74 were located by Victoria Police Missing Persons Squad detectives on November 30, 2021 – just days after the arrest of former Jetstar pilot Gregory Lynn. 

On Monday, the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard the elderly lovers had visited a graveyard in the remote wilderness and buzzed other campers with a drone. 

Russell Hill (pictured, right) and Carol Clay (left) are alleged by police to have been murdered during a camping trip in March 2020

Russell Hill (pictured, right) and Carol Clay (left) are alleged by police to have been murdered during a camping trip in March 2020

Gregory Lynn, 55, (pictured) was charged with the murder of secret lovers Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73

Gregory Lynn, 55, (pictured) was charged with the murder of secret lovers Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73

Russell Hill (pictured with his missing drone) is believed to have filmed campers in and about the area where he was allegedly murdered

Russell Hill (pictured with his missing drone) is believed to have filmed campers in and about the area where he was allegedly murdered 

Weed sprayer Robert Williams told the court he believed he had spoken to Mr Hill in the wilderness in the days before he was allegedly murdered. 

He described Mr Hill as a ‘grumpy old bugger’ who later buzzed him with a drone. 

‘I was getting droned out,’ he later told police. 

Mr Williams said he saw the drone hovering over other people’s campsites, which he believed were being filmed. 

Mr Hill had taken a drone with him on the trip, but it has never been found. 

The court heard deer poachers were known to hunt in the area, with gunshots routinely echoing through the night. 

The campers were allegedly shot by Lynn before their bodies were burnt and dumped in bush graves. 

Campers Damir Javor and Goran Miljkovic had seen the couple as they parked their vehicle at a camp site believed to be shared by Lynn. 

Mr Miljkovic told the court he had seen the couple as they drove slowly down a forest track within the Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps.

‘They appeared to be a grandma and grandpa out for a drive,’ he said through the aid of a Serbian interpreter. 

The pair had been stuck behind the elderly couple as they drove slowly along the track to their campsite, which already had two vehicles parked there. 

One of those cars was a white Landcruiser, the other was described as a blue Nissan Patrol – the same type of vehicle seized by police when they arrested Lynn on November 22 last year.

Mr Miljkovic said he saw the elderly couple park their car up close to the two vehicles already at the site. 

He described the move as ‘strange’ given there was plenty of room for them to park elsewhere. 

Mr Miljkovic told the court he saw the elderly couple again the following day as they returned from a graveyard situated in the remote bushland. 

The pair had been headed back to their ute, which was parked by the river. 

The charred remains of the couples' tent were found by fellow campers a day after they vanished

The charred remains of the couples’ tent were found by fellow campers a day after they vanished 

Ms Clay was on a romantic camping trip and had confided in her sister about the romance

Ms Clay was on a romantic camping trip and had confided in her sister about the romance

The drone Mr Hill is believed to have flown over the area he was allegedly killed. It has never been found

The drone Mr Hill is believed to have flown over the area he was allegedly killed. It has never been found

The burnt out remains of Mr Hill’s Toyota Landcruiser was found at their campsite near Dry River Creek Track on March 21 that year. 

Lynn appeared in court from behind bulletproof glass. 

He had been arrested at a remote campsite in Arbuckle Junction, 1.5 hours south of Wonnangatta in the state’s east in November 2021. 

Dressed in a black suit, Lynn took notes throughout the preliminary hearing, which will determine if he is to face a Supreme Court of Victoria jury trial. 

Lynn’s flight attendant wife and the families of both Mr Hill and Ms Clay watched the hearing via videolink. 

The court heard prosecutors were keen to have the contents of Lynn’s initial record of interview and his original statement to police suppressed over fears they may be inadmissible when the matter goes to trial. 

In a late development, Lynn had been presented with a bundle of folders containing transcripts of conversations he had on prison phones while awaiting trial.  

The hearing is expected to run until early next week. 

Footage of the search showed plain clothes officers sifting through dirt by hand as an excavator worked ahead turning the soil over and digging up the packed ground

Footage of the search showed plain clothes officers sifting through dirt by hand as an excavator worked ahead turning the soil over and digging up the packed ground

A previous hearing was told Victorian homicide detectives had compiled a 773-page brief of evidence against Lynn.

Lynn has employed high profile criminal barrister Dermot Dann, QC to defend him. 

Mr Dann said he was eager to cross examine ballistics expert Paul Griffiths, who is due in court next week. 

‘Mr Griffiths is an important witness dealing with the bullet trajectory and so forth,’ he said.  

Mr Hill's family were not aware that he would be spending the weekend with his lover, Ms Clay

Mr Hill’s family were not aware that he would be spending the weekend with his lover, Ms Clay

The court previously heard 11 witnesses will be called to give evidence in the preliminary hearing. 

The court heard the police brief contained mountains of transcripts of secret recordings of Lynn captured by detectives as part of ‘Operation Lexicon’. 

The 55-year old man from Caroline Springs in Melbourne’s west remains in custody after being charged with the couple’s murders.  

The bodies of his alleged victims had been dumped in dense bushland off the Providence Spur Track, north of Dargo in the state’s east, and had remained there for 20 months.  

Forensic experts made the grisly find off the Providence Spur Track north of Dargo in the state's east within dense bushland often frequented by deer hunters

Forensic experts made the grisly find off the Providence Spur Track north of Dargo in the state’s east within dense bushland often frequented by deer hunters

Greg Lynn is seen with his wife Melanie - who is a flight attendant with Jetstar - with the pair meeting through work

Greg Lynn is seen with his wife Melanie – who is a flight attendant with Jetstar – with the pair meeting through work

Officers endured treacherous conditions in the search for the missing campers

Officers endured treacherous conditions in the search for the missing campers 

For 20 months police have been investigating what happened to the two missing campers

For 20 months police have been investigating what happened to the two missing campers 

Detectives believe the bodies had been dumped in the area the very day they went missing on March 20, 2020. 

Mystery remains, for now, over what else police found at the burial site. Lynn faces life behind bars if convicted of the murders.

TIMELINE OF CAROL CLAY AND RUSSELL HILL’S DISAPPEARENCE 

* March 19, 2020: Russell Hill, 74, leaves his Drouin home and picks up Carol Clay, 73, from her Pakenham home

* March 20, 2020: Mr Hill makes a call via high frequency radio saying he was at Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps. It is the last time anyone hears from either of the pair

* March 21, 2020: Campers find Mr Hill’s fire-damaged Toyota Landcruiser at their campsite near Dry River Creek Track

* March 26, 2020: When Mr Hill planned to leave the region

* March 28 to 29, 2020: When Ms Clay told friends she expected to return

* March 30, 2020: Police make public appeal for information amid search

* April 6, 2020: Initial search called off

* March 5, 2021: Police appeal for information about ‘mystery vehicle’, described as a ‘white dual cab ute’ seen in the area

* March 9, 2021: Drone handed into police ruled out as Mr Hill’s

* April 4, 2021: Cadaver dogs join search at Wonnangatta Valley

* April 14, 2021: Two shovels found near the Great Alpine Rd at Mount Hotham, about 100km drive from where the campers went missing

* November 8, 2021: Image released of blue four-wheel drive seen in the area

* November 22, 2021: Police arrest 55-year-old man from Caroline Springs

* November 25, 2021: The 55-year-old man is charged with two counts of murder

* November 30, 2021: Police find human remains during search for missing campers

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