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Camper’s radio contact before alleged murder

Written by on May 16, 2024

A close friend of slain camper Russell Hill has told a jury he sounded “normal” as the two men spoke over long distance radio the night he was allegedly murdered.

Called to give evidence on Tuesday afternoon at the double murder trial of former Jetstar captain Gregory Stuart Lynn, Michael Allan said he had known Mr Hill for about three decades after striking up a friendship on amateur radio.

He told the jury the two were part of a group that would speak almost nightly using radio, and that he spoke to Mr Hill for about half an hour the night he died.

“I was under the impression he was there by himself,” he said.

“We just generally spoke about how lovely it was being in the Wonnangatta Valley.”

He told the jury Mr Hill seemed “quite normal, like nothing seemed to be untoward” and the conversation ended shortly after 6.30pm.

Mr Lynn is facing trial in Victoria’s Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to the murders of Mr Hill and his lover Carol Clay in the Wonnangatta Valley in the evening of March 20, 2020.

Prosecutors allege he killed the pair “without lawful excuse”, likely after a dispute with Mr Hill over his drone or footage on his drone.

“The precise circumstances of the (alleged) killings are not known. Nor is the motivation,” crown prosecutor Daniel Porceddu told the 15-person jury in his opening remarks.

But Mr Lynn, through his barrister Dermot Dann KC, is arguing that both died “tragic accidental deaths” after Mr Hill snatched his gun about 11pm.

Mr Dann told the jury the defence case was Mr Hill had confronted Mr Lynn for hunting deer too close to their camp and the gun discharged, killing Mrs Clay, as they wrestled.

Mr Hill then came at Mr Lynn with a knife, but died after falling on it during a scuffle, the defence argues.

Mr Dann said his client made a series of terrible choices fearing he would be wrongly blamed after the incident, including dumping and burning the bodies.

The jury was told Mr Lynn then led police to the remains after his arrest in November 2021.

The trial will resume on Thursday as prosecutors plan to call four new witnesses; two contractors who were spraying weeds in the Wonnangatta Valley and two men who were also camping at the time.

It is estimated the trial will run for four to six weeks.