Former pilot Greg Lynn convicted of camper killing

Greg Lynn will spend his first night behind bars as a convicted murderer, as the families of two campers express their relief and devastation at a split verdict.

Twelve jurors on Tuesday found the 57-year-old former pilot guilty of murdering camper Carol Clay on March 20, 2020, but not guilty of killing her secret lover Russell Hill.

Mrs Clay, 73, and Mr Hill, 74, who were having an affair, went missing from the Wonnangatta Valley, part of Victoria's alpine region, while camping.

Lynn pleaded not guilty, claiming the two deaths were accidental, but admitted burning the crime scene and destroying their bodies.

Carol Clay (left) and Russell Hill
Secret lovers Carol Clay and Russell Hill went missing while camping together. (HANDOUT/VICTORIA POLICE)

Lynn testified that he had been deer hunting when he returned to threats from Mr Hill he had drone footage of him too close to the campsite and he would hand it to police.

Later that evening, he said Mr Hill took a shotgun from Lynn's car.

Lynn claimed he went to get his gun off Mr Hill, who fired a few warning shots before turning the gun on Lynn.

The men struggled over the gun, Lynn said, when another shot went off and hit the side of a ute mirror, which ricocheted and went into Mrs Clay's head.

Shot fragments were later found, proving Mrs Clay died in a shooting.

Russell Hill and Carol Clay's burnt-out campsite (file image)
Greg Lynn admitted burning the couple's campsite. (HANDOUT/SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA)

The former pilot claimed Mr Hill charged at him with a knife, with a second struggle ensuing.

Lynn said he was trying to defend himself when the knife went into Mr Hill's chest, but no evidence was shown to the jury to prove how Mr Hill died.

Lynn admitted burning the campsite, putting their bodies in a trailer and driving to the Union Spur Track where he unloaded them and covered them with sticks.

He returned twice, including in November 2020 when he set fire to the couple's remains.

He was arrested a year later, when he told his story to police and led investigators to the bodies, by then comprising 2100 bone fragments.

Lynn maintained he was innocent of murder and admitted to the jury his actions in covering up the crime, including repainting his 4WD used to dispose of the bodies, were "despicable".

He offered to plead guilty to destruction of evidence charges before the trial.

Greg Lynn repainting his 4WD (file image)
Greg Lynn repainted his 4WD which he used to dispose of the bodies. (HANDOUT/SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA)

But the prosecution said Lynn's story was a work of fiction and his conduct after the killings proved beyond a reasonable doubt he intended to murder the couple.

Months of pre-trial hearings led to some evidence against Lynn being ruled as inadmissible, including large parts of his police interview, character evidence and secret recordings taken by police.

Twelve jurors began deciding on their two verdicts on June 17, returning to the court after seven days of deliberations.

In handing down a split verdict, the jurors decided they did not believe Lynn's claim Mrs Clay's death was accidental.

Lynn remained silent and still as the verdicts were read aloud, raising his eyebrows after learning his fate.

He waved to his son Geordie Lynn, who was seated in front of him inside the court room, after the jury left the court.

Geordie Lynn (centre), son of Greg Lynn
Geordie Lynn was in court for the jury's verdict on his father. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Lynn spoke to his lawyers before he was escorted out, flanked by custody officers, and smiled as the prison van took him away.

The convicted murderer, who will be sentenced at a later date, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

He will return to court on July 19 for a mention.

Outside court, Mr Hill and Mrs Clay's families said they were "both relieved and devastated" at the verdicts and thanked the jury.

"It was an extremely difficult task given that the accused destroyed so much evidence," the joint statement said.

"The verdict of not guilty in relation to the murder Russell Hill is devastating.

"There was not enough evidence to be sure of how he died."

They thanked the prosecution "wholeheartedly for their diligent effort" in both the trial and pre-trial, noting some evidence could not be shown to the jury.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Martin O'Brien praised the determination and perseverance of detectives in bringing Lynn to justice.

He said the courage of Mr Hill and Mrs Clay's families had been "nothing short of extraordinary".