Family of Gregory Lynn speak out after he was accused of murdering Carol Clay and Russell Hill
The family of a Jetstar pilot accused of murdering two missing campers have broken their silence to speak of their ‘trauma’ following his dramatic arrest.
Gregory Lynn, 55, faced court on Friday from a local police station in Victoria’s east after being charged with the murders of Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73 – who vanished while camping in the Wonnangatta Valley in March last year.
He was taken into custody by special operations group police officers at a remote campsite 100km south of the valley on Monday before being charged on Thursday.
His family on Friday spoke publicly for the first time about his arrest and said they were ‘completely traumatised’ by the allegations against the 55-year-old.
The ‘traumatised’ family of Jetstar pilot Gregory Lynn (pictured) accused of murdering two missing campers have broken their silence following his dramatic arrest
Russell Hill (pictured, right) and Carol Clay (left) are alleged by police to have been murdered during a camping trip in March 2020
Lynn’s wife Melanie (pictured) was described as ‘lovely’ by her neighbours as she and her family issue a statement on her husband’s arrest
Pictured are Mr Hill’s distraught daughters Colleen and Debbie
‘It has been distressing for our family and the families of the deceased and we are completely traumatised as well by these tragic events,’ they said.
‘We need to deal with the legal proceedings as they arise and try to restore some balance in our lives.
‘We also acknowledge the suffering of the Clay and Hill families at this difficult time.’
The family said they understood the media was interested in the case but requested privacy.
Airline sources earlier told Daily Mail Australia Lynn had been grounded from flying for Jetstar long before his arrest this week.
Confirmation Lynn was grounded comes as police release images of the bushland area being searched for the elderly couple’s bodies.
Lynn was seated behind glass from the watch house of the Sale police station for his brief court hearing on Friday
The bodies of missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay lay somewhere within this thick bushland in Victoria’s high country
Gregory Lynn, 55, (pictured) was charged with the murder of secret lovers Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, as police begin the exhaustive search for their bodies
Police have been unable to account for the trailer (pictured) being towed in the CCTV footage the night the couple vanished near a remote camping spot
The photos show the type of thick terrain police will need to navigate to exhume the bodies of the slain campers, who were allegedly murdered by Lynn on the day they arrived at the Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps.
Speaking amid community concern a suspected killer could have been within the cockpit of commercial flights, the source told Daily Mail Australia Lynn had been safely on terra firma as police turned-up the heat on him to boiling point.
Instead, the experienced check pilot and accused double killer had been training other Jetstar pilots.
Lynn has been remanded in custody to appear in court in May next year
Many Australians had been rightfully worried that Lynn may have still been in the skies on November 5 when police released CCTV footage to the public allegedly of his Nissan Patrol leaving Mount Hotham on the day the campers were killed.
Forums discussing the case had imagined a scenario resembling the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 tragedy, in which an experienced pilot took 227 passengers of course and was never seen again.
On Friday, during his appearance at the Sale Magistrates Court, a calm Lynn sat quietly from an interview room within Sale police station as he was remanded in custody until mid next year.
His wife Melanie Lynn, a flight attendant with Jetstar, also tuned into the videolink.
A masked Lynn, who appeared from behind bulletproof glass in a cell, only showed his face to take a sip of water from a cup and did not speak.
At times he dipped his head and looked at the white table before him as his immediate fate was discussed.
Few details were provided during the short filing hearing, which is the first step in what will likely be a long and arduous legal process that could take years to finalise.
Lynn’s lawyer Chris McLennan did not make any application for bail on behalf of the alleged killer, who was remanded in custody by Magistrate Greg McNamara until his next court appearance on May 31.
The court heard Lynn had no ‘issues’ that might make his time behind bars more difficult.
A brief of evidence against Lynn will not be ready until at least April 19.
He faces life in prison should he be convicted of the double murder.
An Australian flag sits proudly in the top window of the Lynn’s property in Caroline Springs (pictured)
The now former pilot had been living the Australian dream when police arrested him in the pristine Victorian wilderness on Monday.
On Wednesday, shocked neighbours described Lynn as a friendly but ‘guarded’ neighbour, who seemingly had it all.
Nestled on a corner overlooking a green reserve in Caroline Springs, west of Melbourne, Lynn’s home is a postcard for the ‘Great Australian Dream’.
The sprawling double-storey home includes a backyard perfect for lovers of the outdoors, with colourful rosellas spotted snacking from a bird feeder next to rope fitted to trees that allows the movement of native possums.
For 20 months police have been investigating what happened to the two missing campers
An Australia flag sits proudly in a front window of the house facing the sprawling green field.
Behind the fence, the experienced outdoorsman kept bees – his pride and joy.
Neighbours told Daily Mail Australia Lynn had been noticeably present during Victoria’s six hard lockdowns.
Before then, the Jetstar pilot was usually only seen when he was heading out the door to go bush again – the couple’s great joy.
By all accounts the family had been happy, with not a hint of any issues – at least not that neighbours were aware of.
Mr Hill’s white Toyota Landcruiser (pictured) was found with minor fire damage at their burnt campsite near Dry River Creek Track in the valley on March 21
Police put out a public appeal for this 4WD (pictured in a police sketch) with roof racks, side steps, off-road tyres and a bulbar. The box trailer is ‘fairly standard’ but has been fitted with ‘off-road wheels’, detectives say
The beige off-roader belonging to Lynn was taken by police at a remote campsite in East Gippsland where heavily armed officers swooped on the suspect, north of Sale
One woman portrayed her neighbours as living an idealistic lifestyle that would make ordinary Australians green with envy.
‘They talk in the backyard, they never get into any fights. They are lovely and the couple always talk to each other very nicely. They are very close,’ she said.
‘He said him and his wife go camping sometimes and they love camping.’
Police seized a Nissan Patrol belonging to Lynn on Monday when Special Operations Group officers dramatically arrested the Caroline Springs man after tracking his movements and flying into remote bushland by helicopter.
A trailer being towed by an off-road vehicle – also captured on CCTV the night the secret lovers vanished, remains missing- and is believed to have been sold on Gumtree.
A subsequent search of his property did not uncover the trailer, which police believe could be the final piece of the puzzle.
Anyone with information is urged to contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 00
Greg Lynn is seen with his wife Melanie – who is a flight attendant with Jetstar – with the pair meeting through work
The charged remains of Russell Hill’s tent
TIMELINE OF CAROL CLAY AND RUSSELL HILL’S DISAPPEARANCE
* March 19, 2020: Russell Hill, 74, leaves his Drouin home and picks up Carol Clay, 73, from her Pakenham home
* March 20, 2020: Mr Hill makes a call via high frequency radio saying he was at Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps. It is the last time anyone hears from either of the pair
* March 21, 2020: Campers find Mr Hill’s fire-damaged Toyota Landcruiser at their campsite near Dry River Creek Track
* March 26, 2020: When Mr Hill planned to leave the region
* March 28 to 29, 2020: When Ms Clay told friends she expected to return
* March 30, 2020: Police make public appeal for information amid search
* April 6, 2020: Initial search called off
* March 5, 2021: Police appeal for information about ‘mystery vehicle’, described as a ‘white dual cab ute’ seen in the area
* March 9, 2021: Drone handed into police ruled out as Mr Hill’s
* April 4, 2021: Cadaver dogs join search at Wonnangatta Valley
* April 14, 2021: Two shovels found near the Great Alpine Rd at Mount Hotham, about 100km drive from where the campers went missing
* November 8, 2021: Image released of blue four-wheel drive seen in the area
* November 22, 2021: Police arrest 55-year-old man from Caroline Springs
* November 25, 2021: The 55-year-old man is charged with two counts of murder