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Missing camper’s wife, child to take stand

Written by on May 21, 2024

The wife and daughter of missing camper Russell Hill are set to take the stand at the trial of his alleged killer Greg Lynn.

Mr Lynn, 57, returned before the Victorian Supreme Court on Tuesday as the prosecution continues to call witnesses at the estimated four to six week trial.

Prosecutor Kathryn Hamill told the jury it was expected they would hear from six witnesses on Tuesday, including Mr Hill’s wife, Robyn, and daughter, Debbie.

The former Jetstar pilot is facing trial after pleading not guilty to the murders of Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73 in March 2020.

The elderly couple vanished while camping in the remote Wonnangatta Valley, with burnt partial remains discovered in November the following year in bushland off a dirt track near Dargo.

Prosecutors allege Mr Lynn murdered the pair in the evening of March 20, likely after a dispute with Hill over his drone, while his lawyers have argued the couple’s deaths were a tragic accident after Mr Hill confronted Mr Lynn over his deer hunting.

The court heard Mr Hill and Mrs Clay’s campsite were torched by Mr Lynn who removed their bodies from the valley, dumping them “hours away” on his return home.

The jury heard he returned nine months later and attempted to “destroy” the remains.

Last week, crown prosecutor Daniel Porceddu argued Mr Lynn’s conduct after the deaths was an “implied admission” of guilt, while barrister Dermot Dann KC said his client feared he would be wrongly blamed and panicked.

“You will hear this from his own mouth – in the face of that disaster, he made a series of terrible choices,” Mr Dann said.

On Mr Lynn’s account, Mr Hill confronted him for hunting too close to camp, with Mrs Clay accidentally shot as the pair wrestled over a gun Mr Hill had snatched.

The elderly man then came at Mr Lynn with a knife, and died after falling on it as Mr Lynn struggled for his life, the jury was told.

Also on Tuesday, one member of the 15-person jury was discharged by Justice Michael Croucher after contacting the court to say she was unwell.

“The state of play is I’ve formed the view its preferable to carry on rather than to wait to see her state of health,” Justice Croucher said.

The trial continues.