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What can we learn from the Lynn-Clay-Hill High Country murder case?

In March 2020, Russell Hill and Carol Clay left Melbourne in a 4×4 for a camping trip at the Wonnagatta Station.  I’ve done the same, as have many of my readers, if not to Wonnagatta than somewhere similar.

The difference is that I’ve come back alive, and so have you.

Exactly what happened to Russell and Carol is known by only one man, Greg Lynn, and he’s now convicted of the murder of Carol Clay. But not Russell Hill, and that’s significant.

I think it fair to say that when Greg, Russell and Carol left on their respective trips none of them had any intent to cause conflict, far less be involved with any violence or murder.  Yet here we are with two dead, and one convicted of murder.

What seems to have happened is that a conflict arose between Russell and Greg about hunting and drone flying.  The situation escalated, with Greg admitting to deliberately playing loud music.  Who knows what other little jabs there were on either side.

The jury’s conclusion was that the disagreement between Russell and Greg turned physical, and Russell died, but was not murdered as there was no intent to kill.  They concluded that Greg then killed Carol as the sole witness, and that was murder. Greg’s story is that Carol was killed first by accidental gunshot as they wrestled over Greg’s hunting gun, and then an enraged Russell attacked Greg with a knife, they tussled, and Russell died. It is also significant that at least in Greg’s version, one death did not involve a firearm which underlines that the absence of a gun does not mean there is no risk of injury or death.

The exact details of what happened aren’t important for the lesson to us all. What is important is the outcome – three people went out into the bush with every intent of coming back, but two have died, one is behind bars, and many people are deeply, tragically affected.  All this over a silly disagreement which escalated.

We’ve all been made angry by something that’s happened in the bush.  Someone camping too close. Loud music.  Hoons doing donuts. What we see as irresponsible behaviour.  What we see as interfering do-gooder busybodies.  People breaking various laws. Large groups taking up lots of space.  Even excessive chatter on the UHF.

So here’s the lesson.

Let it go.

It’s not worth it. You won’t even remember the incident a few weeks later. But if you escalate, it could change your life and that of others, forever.

Here’s another camping tragedy, but this one has no ill intent.

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