The Jetstar pilot charged with murdering two elderly campers has appeared in court charged with their murder more than 20 months after they vanished.
Gregory Lynn, 55, appeared before the Sale Magistrates’ Court on Friday from the local police station in Victoria’s east charged with the murders of Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73.
The court heard it was the father of three’s first time in custody.
Lynn was seated behind glass from the watch house of the Sale police station for his brief court hearing on Friday
Russell Hill (pictured, right) and Carol Clay (left) are alleged by police to have been murdered during a camping trip in March 2020
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
His wife Melanie Lynn, a flight attendant with Jetstar, 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 of water 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.
Lynn faces life in prison should he be convicted of the double murder.
Lynn will now likely be transported back to a Melbourne jail where he will be placed into a protected unit while awaiting his next court date.
Meanwhile police are preparing for the dangerous task of entering the rugged Victorian wilderness yet again in the hope of finally locating the missing bodies of Mr Hill and Mrs Clay.
Victorian Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill said police had been provided ‘specific’ information as to where to find the burial site within the Great Alpine region.
But even with detailed information on a burial site, police have said it will take days to prepare for the dig in what is some of the most rugged terrain on the planet.
Last night, Assistant Commissioner Hill stole the spotlight from Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper, who has tirelessly led the investigation for near on two years.
‘This morning detectives identified a crime scene within the Great Alpine area and forensic specialists will commence searching at that location over the coming days,’ Assistant Commissioner Hill told reporters.
‘We have located a specific area and we will establish a search parameter.
‘Police are hopeful we will be able to locate the deceased in order to find closure for the families.’
While the search is taking place in remote bushland, forensic specialists will also be scouring Lynn’s two-storey home in Melbourne’s west.
Ground-penetrating radar which can uncover anomalies deep within the earth or even concrete structures will be brought to assist the evidence gathering operation.
Keen camper and dad Gregory Lynn, 55, (pictured) has been in custody since Monday and faced court on Friday morning
An Australian flag sits proudly in the top window of the Lynn’s property in Caroline Springs (pictured)
For 20 months police have been investigating what happened to the two missing campers
Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper has worked tirelessly to bring justice to the families of the deceased campers
Lynn had been arrested on Monday night at a remote campsite in Arbuckle Junction, 1.5 hours south of Wonnangatta in the state’s east.
Police, desperate for knowledge on where the bodies of the campers might have been disposed, grilled Lynn for a whopping four days before finally charging him with their murders.
It is understood detectives only received the information on the likely location on Thursday morning, with police making a preliminary scout of the rugged terrain.
Lynn’s court appearance comes just three weeks after detectives laid a cunning trap for him with a detailed expose of their investigation progress on Channel 9’s 60 Minutes.
There, Inspector Stamper revealed police had been on the hunt for the driver of a blue late 90s Nissan Patrol, which had been captured on CCTV at the top of Mount Hotham when the campers vanished on March 20 last year.
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.
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
A subsequent search of his property did not uncover the trailer, which police believe could be the final piece of the puzzle.
In the hunt for human remains, specialist teams will also deploy ground-penetrating radar at Lynn’s two storey home in Melbourne’s West – the same technology being used in the search for missing NSW child William Tyrrell.
Assistant Commissioner Hill said investigators are keen to speak to anyone who may have purchased a rusty silver or blue 7×5 ft trailer with off-road wheels between March 20 to July 2020.
‘We believe the trailer was sold on Gumtree,’ he said.
Just this week it was revealed Lynn had resprayed his 4WD at least twice over the past seven years.
Google images show Lynn’s then white Nissan Patrol parked outside his Caroline Springs home in 2016.
By 2019 – the next available image – it can be seen parked in the driveway, but this time it’s blue.
Fast forward to June this year and the vehicle is again pictured in the driveway in the same beige colour it was upon Lynn’s arrest.
Assistant Commissioner Hill said he was ‘proud’ of police efforts during the 20-month long police probe, but added the ‘long haul’ investigation is ‘far from over’ as the focus now turns to uncovering the couple’s remains.
‘My heartfelt thoughts are with the Hill and Clay families. The past 20 months has been a difficult time for them and I know their grief remains as raw as ever,’ Assistant Commissioner Hill said.
Greg Lynn is seen with his wife Melanie – who is a flight attendant with Jetstar – with the pair meeting through work
The pair went missing in the Wonnangatta Valley, more than 200km north east of Melbourne
TIMELINE OF CAROL CLAY AND RUSSELL HILL’S DISAPPEARENCE
* 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