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Ex-pilot’s cop interview after camper murder

Written by on June 28, 2024

A three-hour police interview with former Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn in the days after he was arrested over the deaths of Russell Hill and Carol Clay has been released.

Following the jury’s verdict on Tuesday, where Mr Lynn was found not guilty of the murder of Russell Hill and guilty of the murder of Carol Clay, the police interview can now be revealed.

The now-57-year-old spoke with detectives in a cold interview room at Sale Police Station in November 2021 just days after he was arrested.

He was the prime suspect in the alleged murders of the campers who went missing in Victoria’s High Country in March 2020.

In the 3.5 hours of footage released by the court on Friday, Lynn can be seen detailing his version of events to police.

Throughout the trial Lynn claimed the two deaths were accidental but had admitted to burning the crime scene and destroying the bodies.

“It was wrong of me to hide those bodies like that. I should have just gone straight to police,” Lynn told the officers in the footage.

“I didn’t want to do it, it was a horrific thing I had to do. I was sick the first couple of times.

“I just wanted it to go away and just to move on and to never think about it again.”

The judge heard Mr Lynn had been first identified by Victoria Police’s missing person squad less than three months after Russell Hill and Carol Clay vanished in March 2020.

Four automatic licence plate recognition cameras, set up on either side of the Hotham Alpine resort to ensure visitors paid entry fees, had captured him leaving the valley.

When police swooped in November the following year, the avid camper had been the only suspect in the couple’s disappearance for about 16 months.

Aside from a short visit by detectives in July 2020, Lynn had no idea he was under surveillance.

Heavily armed officers from the Special Operations Group arrived by helicopter and arrested Mr Lynn in the afternoon of November 22, 2021, at a campsite in Moroka Junction.

When detectives arrived on scene, he asked if the whole show was “really necessary”.

Last year, investigators from the Missing Persons Squad told the Victorian Supreme Court they had no plans to arrest him at the time, but his conduct on the drive up made them fear he planned to take his own life.

“I have a bad feeling about what I’ve just listened to,” former Detective Senior Constable Passingham said after he raised the alarm.

Police believed Lynn’s self-talk was “concerning” and it appeared he was crying, but would later tell Justice Croucher perhaps they misunderstood.

Much of what occurred as he was repeatedly questioned over the next four days, was kept from the jury after the judge said the investigators had at times engaged in “reprehensible” oppressive conduct.

After a two-hour drive from the remote camping spot to Sale Police Station, Mr Lynn spent nine hours over the following four days sitting in an interview room with two detectives.

Only 3.5 hours of that was played to the jury and released by the court.

Police repeatedly peppered Lynn with questions about the deaths and pushed him to answer the questions.

After a phone call with a lawyer in the morning of November 23, he repeatedly declined to answer their questions but became increasingly desperate as time went on.

“My lawyer is telling me to say ‘no comment’ to every single (thing) that you ask me. And yet you come back and keep asking question after question after question,” he said.

“Can we please do it the way (the lawyer) recommended to me?

“She’s the cavalry and I’m in over my head.”

The judge said both Sergeant Florence and Senior Constable Passingham engaged in deliberate efforts to undermine his lawyer’s advice.

Mr Lynn’s lawyer, Dermott Dann KC, argued the detectives had “flagrantly abused” his clients rights.

After 45 hours in custody, over two and a half days, Mr Lynn broke, saying he was going to “ignore my solicitor’s advice and tell you what happened right from the start”.

He provided an account of how both Carol Clay and Russell Hill died – Mrs Clay accidentally shot in the head as the two men wrestled over a gun.

Mr Hill, he said, attacked him with a knife a short time later, leading to his accidental death as the two men fell to the ground.

Mr Lynn told police he feared he would be blamed for the deaths and “panicked”, torching the camp site and disposing of the bodies.

“Look, the assumption is that I’m the villain. In fact, ah, I think I’m the victim of all of this,” he said.

“I’m innocent of murder. I’ve — I haven’t behaved well, I’ve made some poor decisions. But murder, as I understand it, I’m innocent of.”

Lynn told the officers Mr Hill “came at me” with a knife which led to Mr Hill falling accidentally falling on the knife.

“From here I panicked and I thought ‘well that’s my shotgun, there’s one person dead … and he’s dead as well now,” Lynn said in the footage.

“I’m going to be found guilty of this.”

In the interview Lynn is seen doodling on pieces of paper as he tells police what happened.

He described the night as “very messy”, explaining why he moved the campsite around.

The interview is stopped at one point for officers to attempt to find the remains but they struggled to see in the weather.

“That’s the truth and that’s the best I can give you. It’s not going to be much relief for the families. There’s nothing to see. Nothing to be found,” Lynn said in the footage.

Lynn will return to court in July.