Body of Perpetrator Identified in the Tragic Murder of Sydney Water Polo Coach Lilie James

Lilie James, a 21-year-old water polo coach, was found deceased at St Andrew’s School in Sydney’s central business district (CBD) in the early hours of Thursday morning. The incident has prompted an outpouring of grief from the community and her family.

Authorities suspect that her death was a homicide, possibly perpetrated by Paul Thijssen, a colleague with whom she had recently ended a brief relationship. Thijssen’s body was subsequently found at the base of cliffs near Diamond Bay Reserve in the city’s east.

Daniel Makovec, a family friend, initiated a GoFundMe campaign in Lilie’s honor, which has garnered $9,700 in two days. The fundraiser was established to provide support to the family during this difficult time.

Jamie James, Lilie’s father, released a statement through NCA NewsWire, expressing the family’s devastation and gratitude for the community’s support. The family described Lilie as a loving individual with a passion for teaching and helping others.

A family friend, preferring anonymity, spoke to ABC about the family’s disbelief and their need for answers. The community has shown its respect and sorrow by laying flowers outside the school. Lilie is remembered as vibrant and outgoing, leaving a lasting impact on those who knew her.

Students at St Andrew’s Cathedral School shared unsettling accounts of Thijssen’s behavior, recalling instances where he was flirtatious and made them uncomfortable. Some students labeled him as “creepy” and “arrogant.”

Paul Thijssen, 24, is alleged to have murdered Lilie James in a bathroom at the school. The pair, both employed at the school, had a brief romantic involvement that ended approximately a week prior to the incident.

Security footage emerged, showing Thijssen’s movements after the suspected murder. He was seen arriving at Diamond Bay Reserve and is believed to have disposed of a hammer, purportedly the murder weapon, in a bin before driving to another location.

The situation unfolded further when Thijssen reportedly contacted the police to inform them of a body at the school. When officers arrived, they discovered Lilie James with serious head injuries in an apparent homicide.

The police initiated a search at Vaucluse after tracing a call from Thijssen to the area. Early on Thursday morning, police found materials believed to be linked to the murder at Diamond Bay Reserve. This led to a search of the reserve and the waters off South Head.

James and Thijssen had reportedly been dating for a few weeks before she ended the relationship. There was no official history of domestic violence between them.

The community, still reeling from the loss, held a candlelight vigil in Kogarah Bay to mourn Lilie James. Attendees shared memories of the young coach. The Balmain Tigers Water Polo club, where James was a member, planned to pay respects with a minute’s silence before their upcoming games.

Chris Morris
Author: Chris Morris

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