Russell Hill and Carol Clay’s families break their silence following verdict

Jun 26, 2024
With the trial now over, the families are keen to put the tragic matter behind them and focus on healing and moving forward with their lives.  Source: JamesRoss/Joel-Carrett/AAPPHOTOS.

On Tuesday, June 25, the long-running investigation into the deaths of campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay drew to a close when the Supreme Court jury delivered their verdict on the matter.

Hill and Clay were last heard from on March 20, 2020 when they were camping in the Wonnangatta Valley. The couple’s campsite was discovered by campers on March 21 allegedly destroyed by fire near Dry River Creek Track, Hill’s vehicle was found with signs of minor fire damage.

Former airline pilot Greg Lynn was arrested in relation to the camper’s disappearance on November 21, 2021 and was later charged with two counts of murder after he was questioned for several days by police.

He faced a five-week trial in the Supreme Court where he pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder over the deaths of Hill and Clay. Lynn maintained during the trial that the two deaths were accidental and admitted to burning the crime scene and destroying their bodies.

Despite Lynn’s version of events, prosecutors argued that he killed both of the campers intentionally and then attempted to cover up his crimes.

As the trial wrapped up, the twelve jurors began deliberating on their verdict on June 17, returning to the court on Tuesday, June 25 with their final decision.

When asked for a verdict on Hill’s murder, the jury’s foreperson told the court “not guilty”. Regarding the murder of Clay, the foreperson replied “guilty”.

Following the verdict, the victims’ families have expressed that they were “both relieved and devastated” at the outcome.

“We thank the jury for their verdict of guilty in the murder of Carol Clay. 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 of Russell Hill is devastating. There was not enough evidence to be sure of how he died.”

The families expressed their gratitude to the prosecution for their “diligent effort” in the case. They added that since there were no eyewitnesses, the prosecution had “an enormous burden of proof”.

“The accused was the only person who saw and experienced what happened. He was also the only person who emerged alive,” they said.

“They had an enormous job putting a case together with limited evidence.

“They fought hard to keep all their evidence allowed in court, so the jury could make an informed decision, but this was not the case.”

With the trial now over, the families are keen to put the tragic matter behind them and focus on healing and moving forward with their lives.

“We are heartbroken at the loss of our loved ones,” they said.

“It will take time to absorb the verdicts … Right now, we ask you to respect our privacy while we do this.”

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Martin O’Brien praised the two families for how they handled the difficult four years since their loved ones died.

“Their courage and resilience in the face of their grief, amidst enormous public attention, has been nothing short of extraordinary,” he wrote in a statement.

“We will continue to support them in every way possible following this decision.”

Lynn has returned to prison to await sentencing.

-with AAP.

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