Lilie James, a 21-year-old water polo coach, was discovered dead in a gym bathroom at St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney. The incident occurred around midnight on Thursday, and Ms. James had sustained severe injuries. Authorities are currently seeking 24-year-old Paul Thijssen for questioning in connection with her death. Thijssen had previously worked at the school as a hockey coach.
Emergency services were called to the prestigious school in Sydney’s CBD when concerns were raised about Ms. James’ well-being after she failed to return home on Wednesday night. Reports suggest that Ms. James had recently ended her relationship with Mr. Thijssen, and the two had been dating for approximately five weeks.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the pair met at the school on Wednesday night, and CCTV footage obtained by the police captures the moments leading up to the young teacher’s death. Floral tributes have been placed outside St Andrew’s Cathedral School, which has remained closed to students on Thursday and Friday.
A manhunt is currently underway in Sydney’s eastern suburbs to locate Mr. Thijssen, who detectives wish to speak with as part of their investigation into Ms. James’ death. Prior to this, officers had been dispatched to Diamond Bay Reserve in Vaucluse, an affluent suburb around 10 kilometers from St. Andrew’s Cathedral School.
Authorities have indicated that property linked to the homicide was discovered in the area. Mr. Thijssen’s last known address was in Vaucluse. Forensic police removed a silver Lexus sedan and confiscated what appeared to be a pair of Apple Airpods from the reserve for further examination. Additionally, a GoGet share car was towed away from a nearby street overlooking the water.
NSW Police Superintendent Martin Fileman confirmed that officers are searching for a man in his early 20s who was acquainted with Ms. James. Investigations suggest that he may have jumped from a cliff in The Gap near Diamond Reserve in Vaucluse.
Notably, neither Mr. Thijssen nor Ms. James had previous encounters with the police related to domestic violence or Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs).
Authorities have urged anyone with information regarding the incident to contact Day St Police Station at (02) 9265 6499 or Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000.