Greg Lynn outside the Supreme Court of Victoria at the start of his murder trial in Melbourne

Slain camper Russell Hill confided to a fellow camper that retirement had ‘f***ed’ him up before he allegedly died in a struggle trying to kill ex-Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn. 

Lynn, 57, of Caroline Springs is charged with the murder of Mr Hill, 74, and his lover Carol Clay, 73, in the remote Wonnangatta Valley in Victoria’s Alpine region more than four years ago.

In the Supreme Court of Victoria trial on Tuesday, the jury heard Lynn claimed Mr Hill died during a fight with him when he fell on his own knife after accidentally shooting Ms Clay dead. 

Greg Lynn outside the Supreme Court of Victoria at the start of his murder trial in Melbourne

Greg Lynn outside the Supreme Court of Victoria at the start of his murder trial in Melbourne

Russell Hill and Carol Clay's burnt out campsite

Russell Hill and Carol Clay’s burnt out campsite

On Wednesday, the first of the trial’s witnesses described Mr Hill as a kind-natured man who had been struggling with retirement after a life of forestry working in the very region where he died. 

Deer hunter Chris Benton told the jury he met Mr Hill in a camping area known as King Billy shortly before he and Ms Clay made the trip into nearby Wonnangatta Valley. 

Mr Benton said he chatted with Mr Hill about his love of amateur radio and his life working the forest before he confided with him the struggles of his life as a retiree. 

‘Now I’m retired and it really f***ed me up,’ Mr Hill told the stranger. 

While Mr Benton claimed Mr Hill told him he was married, he made no mention of who Ms Clay was or why he was camping with her. 

‘If I go home, my wife will only nag me anyway. I may as well stay here,’ Mr Hill allegedly told the camper. 

The court heard Mr Hill had been spotted using a large chainsaw to cut down snow gum, despite it being prohibited to do so in the forest. 

Mr Benton said when he mentioned that to Mr Hill, and the fact he could be fined if caught by a park ranger, the elderly camper appeared non-fussed. 

‘I don’t give a f***,’ Mr Hill allegedly remarked. 

On Wednesday, the court heard Lynn claimed Mr Hill and Ms Clay were killed in a ‘tragic accident’. 

Russell Hill told a camper he had been struggling with retirement

Russell Hill told a camper he had been struggling with retirement 

Mr Hill made no mention of who Carol Clay was to him.

Mr Hill made no mention of who Carol Clay was to him. 

Lynn’s barrister Dermot Dann, KC told the jury Mr Hill stole Lynn’s shotgun after he became enraged about Lynn playing loud music on the night he was killed.

‘He went towards Mr Hill to try and get the gun back – to take control of the gun. Mr Hill fired the gun into the air and Mr Lynn initially took cover towards the rear of his car,’ Mr Dann said.

Lynn would later tell police he was ‘scared s***less’ by Mr Hill’s actions.

‘He decided the only way to make things safe was to get his gun back,’ Mr Dann said.

The jury heard that as Lynn tried to wrestle the firearm away from Mr Hill, the gun discharged and Ms Clay was hit in the head.

‘The next thing is Mr Hill’s advancing towards him with a knife screaming at him “she’s dead”,’ Mr Dann said.

‘A struggle developed over the knife. Mr Lynn trying to defend himself – they’re locked in this struggle – and as part of that struggle the two men fall to the ground and the knife goes through the chest of Mr Hill.’

The court heard Mr Hill and Lynn had argued earlier in the day about Lynn hunting for deer so close to other campers. 

The remote Wonnangatta Valley where Mr Hill and Ms Clay met their fate

The remote Wonnangatta Valley where Mr Hill and Ms Clay met their fate 

Mr Benton said Mr Hill had told him retirement ‘had an effect on him’. 

‘Russell worked in the forestry production industry for all of his life and he went onto explain from working in production to retirement had an effect on Russell,’ he said. 

‘Obviously he’s a worker. He’s a working class man so that did have an effect on his mental outlook.’

Mr Benton’s mate, Rowan Stewart, told the court Mr Hill had expressed some concerns about how they stored their firearms while not camping. 

Mr Stewart told the jury Mr Hill asked if they unloaded their weapons and mentioned a family member had previously been killed during a tragic hunting accident. 

Like Mr Benton, Mr Stewart said Mr Hill made no mention of who Ms Clay was, telling the jury he was surprised when news broke that Mr Hill had gone missing with someone who was not his wife.  

In opening the case on Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Daniel Porceddu dismissed Lynn’s version of events. 

‘It is likely there was a dispute regarding Mr Hill’s drone or vision captured on his drone,’ Mr Porceddu said.

‘There might have been an argument or confrontation between the men. It is not known how Mr Hill was killed.’

The trial continues.  

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