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Karen Sweeney

Pilot to stand trial for campers' killings

The former airline pilot ordered to stand trial over the murders of Melbourne campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay claimed he'd painted his car a different colour as a project with his sons.

Greg Lynn, 56, was on Wednesday ordered to stand trial in Victoria's Supreme Court on two charges of murder after magistrate Brett Sonnet found there was sufficient evidence to support a conviction.

Lynn replied "not guilty Your Honour" when asked by the magistrate how he pleaded to the charges.

The magistrate's ruling follows days of evidence about covert recordings, blood spatter analysis, phone data and a secret but potentially explosive police interview.

Lynn was charged in November 2021 with murdering the campers, whose missing persons case became one of Australia's most high-profile crime stories in March 2020.

It's alleged Lynn, 56, killed the couple on March 20 that year, while they all camped in the remote Wonnangatta area of Victoria's alpine region.

How he allegedly killed them or any potential motive was not revealed during a hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court where prosecutors and Lynn's defence team tested the evidence.

Lead investigator, Detective Sergeant Brett Florence first spoke to Lynn about the missing couple in July 2020 after his dark-coloured Nissan Patrol was picked up by cameras in the Mt Hotham area on March 21 that year.

The vehicle was beige when officers interviewed him on July 14.

"The accused told us that he had painted the car as part of a Covid project with his sons, which was not long after he returned from the camping trip," Det Florence said in a statement.

Details of a recorded conversation with Lynn that day, and a formal statement he made, are suppressed from publication, as well as the contents of Lynn's four-day interview with police after he was arrested in November 2021.

Defence barrister Dermot Dann KC argued for a suppression order, claiming the information could be viewed as potentially explosive, and posed a risk of prejudice to the administration of justice.

It's alleged Lynn killed Mr Hill and Ms Clay - childhood sweethearts who reunited later in life - sometime after 6pm on March 20 at their Bucks Camp campsite.

In a summary of some of the evidence, police claimed the circumstances of the couple's deaths and Lynn's behaviour afterwards were consistent with him having intended to kill them.

It's alleged Lynn contaminated and staged the crime scene - setting fire to the camp to intentionally destroy evidence.

He's also accused of removing evidence and disposing of the couple's remains, involving burning, dispersing and partially interring them at a separate location near Dargo in May 2020 and/or November 2020.

Searches in the high plains are still underway, according to Det Florence who said weather in the Mt Hotham area had created issues.

A March 2022 review of the campsite uncovered bone fragments.

The couple's remains were found in remote bushland near Dargo on November 29, 2021 - four days after Lynn was charged with murder.

Listening devices were installed in Lynn's Caroline Springs home and car, and he was allegedly recorded having conversations with himself about the deaths of Mr Hill and Ms Clay.

Officers swooped and arrested him on November 22, 2021. Through the listening devices they learned he was on his way back to the high country, and they had concerns about his mental health.

But Det Florence said on Wednesday that he didn't believe Lynn was at "mental breaking point". Despite the early concerns about Lynn's mental state he also admitted he had not sought physical or mental health examinations after Lynn's arrest.

Lynn was not the only person of interest in the case in mid-2020, the detective said. A local man was identified by Parks Victoria, while another man known as "Button Man" was also interviewed.

Lynn has not applied for bail and will remain in custody until a directions hearing in the Victorian Supreme Court in March.

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