Gunfire and a drone were heard near the remote Alpine campsite where a Melbourne couple was allegedly killed, a court has heard.
Russell Hill and Carol Clay were reported missing after going camping in a remote spot in the Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps in March 2020.
Their bodies were discovered in November 2021 in bushland outside Dargo, just days after their accused killer Greg Lynn was charged with murder.
He faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday for the start of a five-day hearing, testing the evidence against him.
Lynn, a former airline pilot, has pleaded not guilty to the murders.
Hunters Damir Jovar and Goran Miljkovic believe they saw Mr Hill and Mrs Clay in the Wonnangatta area when they camped there in March 2020.
Through a Serbian translator, Mr. Miljkovic told the court that he heard gunshots early one morning during their journey, just before dawn. Then he corrected himself.
“Just one shot,” he said.
In his statement to police, Mr. Miljkovic had described hearing gunshots regularly in the area over many years of camping. He thought they came from poachers trying to kill deer.
He had been in the area hunting deer.
Mr. Miljkovic and Mr. Jovar both described following an elderly couple in a white Landcruiser ute on their journey. It moved to a campground with restrooms. Mr Miljkovic said, oddly enough, that he parked closer to two other vehicles than to the toilets.
One was a white ute, according to both men. Mr Jovar said the second was a blue Nissan Patrol, while Mr Miljkovic said it was a blue station wagon.
Mr Miljkovic thought he saw the same couple walking from a graveyard to the ute parked by a river the next day.
Contract weed sprayer Robert Williams was working in the area the week the RVs were reported missing.
He said a “grumpy” man sped past him near the Bucks Camp before lunch on March 20. Others passing by had stopped to chat, but this man “put his foot down and whizzed past me,” he said.
Hours later, calling his boss at around 5pm, Mr. Williams said he saw a drone flying overhead.
He waved as it flew over him, filming it, and it circled several times before flying over nearby campsites, describing it as rude.
“You go there to have a peaceful camp and someone flies a drone over you,” he said.
He watched it for 35 or 40 minutes before it further faded from view.
The next morning he smelled burning plastic, but didn’t think much of it at the time because he said campers often burned trash in their campfires. He had only taken note of it to make sure it wasn’t one of his colleagues.
Later, when news reports revealed that two campers were missing in the area, Mr. Williams recognized Mr. Hill’s image as the “grumpy” man.
“I could tell right away by looking at him — mid-70s, had that grumpy look about him,” he said.
“I remember the vehicle very well. A V8 Landcruiser, decked out.”
The hearing continues.