Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn committed to stand trial over the murder of secret lover campers

Ex-Jetstar pilot is committed to stand trial over the murder of secret lover campers…as court battle looms over whether his ‘explosive’ interview with cops can be used against him

  • Pilot Greg Lynn, 56, faces two counts of murder 
  • Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, vanished in the bush last year
  • Lynn committed to stand trial at Supreme Court
  • His defence will fight to exclude record of interview
  • Police under fire for denying his right to silence 
  • A final police search of the mountains  to be conducted

Ex-Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn has been committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria over the murders of secret lover campers Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73.

Magistrate Brett Sonnet on Wednesday ruled in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court a jury would have sufficient evidence to find beyond reasonable doubt the 56-year old murdered the couple in the Victorian High Country in March 2020. 

Lynn’s committal to stand trial followed a preliminary hearing that began on January 16. 

Greg Lynn, 56, will stand trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria on two counts of murder

Greg Lynn, 56, will stand trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria on two counts of murder

Carol Clay (left) was allegedly shot dead by Lynn before Russell Hill (right) was stabbed to death

Carol Clay (left) was allegedly shot dead by Lynn before Russell Hill (right) was stabbed to death

Police allege Carol Clay was shot while standing toward the rear of this vehicle, which was damaged by fire after the alleged crime

Police allege Carol Clay was shot while standing toward the rear of this vehicle, which was damaged by fire after the alleged crime

Lynn remained composed throughout the brief hearing, which was held within a near empty courtroom, apart from media representatives.

Dressed in a suit and carrying a bundle of yellow folders, he had stood to address his barrister despite objections from the clerk.

At the conclusion of the hearing he formally pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, setting up what will be an epic murder trial.  

Lynn will now face the Supreme Court of Victoria on February 9 in his first step in finally fronting a jury that will decide his fate. 

He has been in jail since November 2021 and again made no application to be released on bail.  

The jury trial is not expected to formally begin until later this year after mountains of evidence are discussed before a Supreme Court judge. 

Much of the conversation is expected to revolve around Lynn’s four-day police record of interview, which Lynn hopes to have wiped from the public record. 

The contents of that interview are now subject to a court imposed gag order, which is likely to remain in place up until the time of Lynn’s trial. 

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

Many of those pages contain the contents of Lynn’s nine-plus hour interview, which was recorded at Sale police station directly after his arrest in November 2021. 

Lynn’s barrister Dermot Dann, KC, has long argued his client’s interview should be ruled inadmissible from any murder trial. 

Greg Lynn, pictured in court last week, was grilled by police for four days

Greg Lynn, pictured in court last week, was grilled by police for four days

Police made thousands of recordings of Greg Lynn (right) in the 11 months before his arrest in Victoria's high country. Almost 300 relevant recordings came after the airing of a 60 Minutes special on the missing campers

Police made thousands of recordings of Greg Lynn (right) in the 11 months before his arrest in Victoria’s high country. Almost 300 relevant recordings came after the airing of a 60 Minutes special on the missing campers 

Lynn's barrister Dermot Dann, KC (pictured last week) plans to fight the admissibility of his client's record of interview with police

Lynn’s barrister Dermot Dann, KC (pictured last week) plans to fight the admissibility of his client’s record of interview with police

WHY POLICE BELIEVE CAMPERS WERE MURDERED

Russell Hill knew the rugged Wonnangatta Valley as good as anyone brave enough to venture that far into the wilderness. 

It is bravery that police suspect cost him, and his secret lover Carol Clay, their lives. 

Those that knew him claimed he would never back down from a fight.  

Weed sprayer Robert Williams told the court Mr Hill was a ‘grumpy old bugger’ who had buzzed him with a drone.

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.

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. 

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While the contents of what exactly was discussed with Lynn cannot be revealed, Mr Dann described it as ‘explosive’. 

‘It’s just that these items of evidence are potentially game changing in terms of the way the trial will be conducted by the prosecution,’ he told the court last week.

‘They would have such an impact potentially on how that trial is to be run … there are very real, very live and very substantial issues in respect to those two items of evidence.’

The second item Mr Dann referred to is a statement Lynn made following a secret recording detectives made after his arrest in the wilderness. 

The court heard Lynn was held within the jail cells of Sale police station without legal representation or a mental health assessment for the duration of the interview.

‘He was fed, he was watered, he was bedded,’ Missing Person’s Squad Senior Constable Daniel Passingham told Mr Dann while under cross examination this week.

Without use of the record of interview, detectives would be forced to rely on other evidence, which includes phone tower data, witness statements, forensic opinions and secret recordings police captured in the 11 months it had Lynn under surveillance. 

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

Police allege Lynn had routinely spoken to himself while driving about in his Nissan Patrol. 

In the hours before Special Operations Group officers descended on his vehicle in a helicopter, Lynn allegedly described the murders of the couple as another ‘chapter in life’. 

Respected Detective acting-Sergeant Brett Florence (left) and Detective Leading Senior Constable Daniel Passingham (right) led the charge to solve the mystery of the missing campers

Respected Detective acting-Sergeant Brett Florence (left) and Detective Leading Senior Constable Daniel Passingham (right) led the charge to solve the mystery of the missing campers

On Monday, the detective responsible for listening to 3150 secret recordings captured from Lynn’s vehicle revealed what he said as police closed in on him.

Senior Constable Passingham told the court he heard Lynn pondering the alleged murders while driving up to the Wonnangatta Valley shortly before his arrest.

‘In what I had listened to of the accused, he had expressed it as a chapter in life,’ Senior Constable Passingham said.

The detective also claimed Lynn had mentioned while driving alone in his vehicle that his ‘book had been written’.

‘These are in the recordings that are taken while he is driving the Nissan Patrol,’ he said.

On Wednesday, the detective in charge of bringing the case against Lynn, acting-Sergeant Brett Florence, confirmed detectives had been concerned about Lynn’s mental health on the morning of his arrest. 

‘I wouldn’t say he was at a mental breaking point,’ he added. 

Sergeant Florence had been the last witness to give evidence at the preliminary hearing. 

He told the court Lynn had been deemed a person of interest within months of the campers vanishing. 

‘He was not a suspect. He was a person of interest,’ he told Mr Dann under cross examination. 

The court has previously heard detectives had spoken to Lynn as early as July 14, 2020 as they worked to check the stories of a dozen others who had been in the area at the same time as the campers went missing.  

Police had been keen to talk to everyone caught on CCTV driving into the wilderness during the period the campers went missing. It is alleged this is Greg Lynn's car during that period

Police had been keen to talk to everyone caught on CCTV driving into the wilderness during the period the campers went missing. It is alleged this is Greg Lynn’s car during that period

Police believe Greg Lynn's vehicle looked like this when the campers went missing

Police believe Greg Lynn’s vehicle looked like this when the campers went missing

It was a conversation covertly recorded by a detective at the time.  

The court heard another man had been deemed a particular person of interest in the case after he was nominated by Parks Victoria staff. 

Sergeant Florence said police had spoken to the man, who lived in the area the campers went missing, but was subsequently ruled out. 

The court heard police intend to make a final search of the wilderness area where the alleged murders took place. 

Lynn was arrested at the intersection of Doolans Plains Road and Moroka Road, Arbuckle – some seven hours after he was heard talking to himself in a ‘depressed state’. 

Leading Senior Constable Passingham stated the decision to arrest Lynn was made upon review of the recording by his superiors. 

‘Lynn made comments of his time coming to an end, that Melanie (his wife) had three boys to look after her, a good rum, whiskey or cocktail would be good,’ Leading Senior Constable Passingham stated. 

The detective said after listening to Lynn for more than 3000 recordings, he knew something wasn’t right. 

‘I had a feeling he was going to commit suicide,’ he told the court. 

Lynn had been armed with a high-powered centrefire rifle on the unexpected trip. 

The shattered remains of Mr Hill and Ms Clay would be found just days later about 40km east as the crow flies across rugged bushland near Dargo.  

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