Pilot claims hunting dispute led to 'accidental deaths'

A pilot accused of double murder claims one of the victims accidentally shot the other in the head and then came at him with a knife after a hunting argument.

Greg Lynn has admitted involvement in two accidental deaths while camping before making "a series of terrible choices" to conceal evidence, his barrister told a jury on Tuesday.

The 57-year-old has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder over the deaths of Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, in Victoria's alpine region and is on trial in the Supreme Court in Melbourne.

The two went missing from Bucks Camp, in the Wonnangatta Valley, in March 2020.

Lynn's barrister Dermot Dann KC said his client admitted in a police interview he was accidentally involved in the deaths.

"I haven't behaved well, I've made some poor decisions but murder, as I understand it, I'm innocent of," he said, citing a transcript.

Carol Clay (left) and Russell Hill (file image)
Russell Hill and Carol Clay's deaths were accidents after a row over hunting, the jury has heard. (HANDOUT/VICTORIA POLICE)

He said Lynn, who was a Jetstar captain at the time, returned to Bucks Camp on March 20 after deer hunting and was concerned about a drone.

He went to Mr Hill's campsite to voice his issues, when Mr Hill threatened to show police footage of Lynn hunting deer near the camping grounds, Mr Dann said.

"Mr Lynn told him he was speaking nonsense," he said.

He said Lynn went back to his camp and started playing loud music from his car to annoy Mr Hill.

Lynn claimed he heard some noise around his vehicle and saw Mr Hill walking away. Believing he had his gun, Lynn said he followed Mr Hill and asked him for it back.

"Mr Hill told him to 'f*** off'," Mr Dann said.

"Mr Lynn, you'll hear and see, explains to police that Mr Hill lost his temper, that loud music had obviously disturbed Mr Hill late at night."

Mr Dann alleged Lynn went to get his gun back from Mr Hill, when the 74-year-old fired it into the air.

Lynn said he took cover and tried again to get his gun back, with a struggle ensuing.

A court sketch of Greg Lynn (file image)
Lynn sat quietly in court taking notes. (Paul Tyquin/AAP PHOTOS)

The accused murderer claimed in a "chaotic scene" Mr Hill discharged the gun and a bullet went through the car mirror.

"That same shot, tragically, shot Mrs Clay in the head," Mr Dann said.

Mr Hill ran to Mrs Clay, Lynn retrieved his gun and Mr Hill turned on Lynn with a knife and screamed "she's dead".

Lynn tried to defend himself from the knife and it went into Mr Hill's chest, Mr Dann alleged.

He said Lynn then made "a series of terrible choices" as he feared he'd be blamed for the deaths.

"He tried to make this disaster somehow go away," he said.

"He embarked on a series of actions which, he recognised in that record of interview, only made his situation ... so much worse."

Lynn packed up his camp, put the two bodies in his trailer and set fire to their site.

Mr Dann said Lynn allegedly took the knife, drone and the couple's phones before driving into the night with the bodies.

Lynn went to the Union Spur Track, near Dargo, and unloaded the bodies before driving home to Melbourne, he said.

Lynn's 4WD and trailer (file image)
Lynn put the two bodies into his trailer and buried them before driving home, the jury heard. (HANDOUT/VICTORIA POLICE)

He returned to the bodies when COVID-19 lockdown ended, in May 2020, and again in November when he burnt their remains.

"He describes being physically sick, scooping up the remains of the fire," Mr Dann said.

Mr Dann told jurors the prosecution would not be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the deaths were not accidental.

Prosecutor Daniel Porceddu accused Lynn of intentionally murdering the pair, which he said was proven by post-offence conduct in not calling for help, contaminating the scene and concealing evidence.

In an alternative version of events, he alleged Mr Hill was killed first.

"Mrs Clay is very unlikely to have provoked a violent confrontation involving a firearm, other than having witnessed or been aware of Mr Hill's violent death," he said.

He said Mr Hill, a radio enthusiast, would have been able to readily call for assistance if Mrs Clay had been shot first.

Mr Porceddu said police had recovered more than 2000 skeletal fragments, belonging to the two victims, from Union Spur track site.

Lynn quietly sat in court taking notes during the first day of the trial, which continues on Wednesday.