Sun. May 26th, 2024
alert-–-lilie-james-murder:-horrific-details-emerge-about-how-young-female-water-polo-instructor-at-elite-private-school-died-–-as-‘friend’-of-her-suspected-killer-reveals-his-call-to-policeAlert – Lilie James murder: Horrific details emerge about how young female water polo instructor at elite private school died – as ‘friend’ of her suspected killer reveals his call to police

A 21-year-old female water polo instructor at a prestigious Sydney school was bashed to death with a hammer – and police are still hunting for her suspected killer.

Lilie James was found dead with horrific head injuries inside St Andrew’s Cathedral School in the city’s CBD about midnight on Thursday morning, after her father contacted police when she failed to return home.

Her suspected killer and ex-colleague Paul Thijssen, 24 – who was a former sports coach at the elite private school – called police four hours after cops believe she was killed. 

The exact details of the chilling phone call remain unknown but a school source revealed to Daily Mail Australia: ‘He told them where the body was’.

Lilie James (pictured), 21, was found dead with horrific head injuries inside St Andrew’s Cathedral School in the city’s CBD around midnight on Thursday morning after her father contacted police when she failed to return home

It has now emerged that her suspected killer – ex-colleague Paul Thijssen (pictured), 24, who was a former hockey coach at the elite school

Thijssen, who was born in the Netherlands before moving to Australia in 2015 where he attended St Andrew’s for years 10-12, could be seen on CCTV following Ms James into a gym bathroom at the school on Wednesday around 7pm. 

The footage then captures Thijssen leaving the area over an hour later, while Ms James never emerges from the bathroom, The Daily Telegraph reported. 

Thijssen alerted police around four hours later. They were able to trace the call to ‘The Gap’ clifftop at Diamond Bay Reserve in Vaucluse where they found a backpack and some of his belongings. 

During the Covid pandemic Thijssen was alone in Australia for 18 months.

The school source said he believes Thijssen is ‘not psychotic’ but that this dark period may have affected him.

Daily Mail Australia earlier revealed that Ms James was in a ‘secret relationship’ with Thijssen for a matter of weeks leading up to her death. 

Lilie James, 22, was a water polo coach at St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney’s CBD. She was found dead in a gym bathroom last night

Police are searching for Paul Thijssen, a Netherlands-born former student at the school, who has served as the hockey coach. A close friend of Ms James said the two had been in a short relationship that recently ended 

Relatives and friends gathered outside the James’s home on Thursday with her father Jamie James (left) politely declining to comment saying he had to speak with police 

Police were seen putting a pair of Apple AirPods found at Diamond Bay Reserve, Vaucluse into brown evidence bags 

A second crime scene has been established at Diamond Bay Reserve at Vaucluse where police are searching for Paul Thijssen

The body of water polo coach Lilie James has been found on the grounds of a Sydney CBD school

Ms James’ friend said the relationship had only recently ended.

People who know Thijssen expressed shock and disbelief that he could be linked to her death.

‘Everyone knew this guy because he did Year 13 (at the school),’ the source said. 

‘It’s going to rock the school. He would have taught every class because we have designated sports teachers that only do sports, and they cover the whole school.’

Thijssen was sports captain at St Andrews before graduating in 2017 when he went on to get a job there as a cricket and hockey coach. 

But another source at the school said that the people who knew him while he was a pupil appeared to like him more than those who continued to associate with him once he had left.

Another ex-student said that he was an ‘arrogant’ person who was liked by girls but hated by boys.

Two crime scenes have been established at the school where Ms James was found and at The Gap at Vaucluse where Thijssen went missing

The community is in shock and the school will remain closed for the rest of the week

 Superintendent Martin Fileman said Ms James had sustained serious head injuries

The source said they knew different people who had both a ‘really positive and really negative view of him’, adding that the majority of people with negative opinions were male, but ‘some of the girls held him in a positive light’. 

It also appears Thijssen spent around a year-and-a-half in Australia alone during the pandemic, finally reuniting with his parents in the Netherlands in August 2021.    

The school was closed to students except for Year 12 pupils doing exams, and forensic investigators were scouring the grounds of the school on Thursday. 

School alumni have been offered counselling sessions on Friday afternoon. 

‘I understand that this is a highly upsetting and concerning update, and I want to support out alumni community in any way we can,’ the school’s head Dr Julie McGonigle said in an email to students seen by this publication. 

Ms James’ cause of death will be determined via a post-mortem examination, though police have already deemed it a homicide due to the horrific nature of her injuries.

Ms James was a talented athlete winning several awards throughout high school 

The St Andrew’s Cathedral School gymnasium (pictured) where Ms James was found in the bathrooms 

Thijssen (left) graduated from St Andrews school in 2017 and went on to work there 

Police said other staff members were understood to be present on campus at the time the woman’s body was found, but police would not confirm why they were there.

Superintendent Martin Fileman said the victim had sustained serious head injuries. 

Daily Mail Australia witnessed police towing away a silver Lexus from Diamond Bay Reserve about 10am, investigating a bin and packing items into brown evidence bags – including what appeared to be a set of Apple AirPods. 

He told a press conference at Day Street Police Station that Police Air Wing and officers on the ground were scouring the coastline off South Head, at the entry to Sydney Harbour, and the surrounding reserve for evidence. 

He would not say whether police believed the male they were seeking was alive or dead.

‘We are looking for a male in his early twenties. He is employed by the school,’ he said.

A silver Lexus sedan was seen being towed from Diamond Bay Reserve about 10am

Thijssen had moved to Australia from the Netherlands in 2015 for Years 10, 11 and 12 

‘We don’t want to make any assumptions of the fact that that person may have taken his own life, but that’s just another line of inquiry we’re looking at at the moment.

‘The female is an employee of the school. [She had] serious head injuries.

‘The scene was quite confronting.’

Parents received messages at 3am from teachers at the school, with principal Dr Julie McGonigle later emailing them to say the school was closed until next week and the bathroom area ‘not accessible to students is a crime zone’.

In one message, the school said no students were involved in the incident.

On Thursday afternoon, friends and family gathered at the James family home. Ms James’s father Jamie politely declined to comment.

Supt Fileman said it was ‘a very sad time for family, school staff and students’.

He appealed to ‘anyone who may have knowledge of this homicide’ to contact police or Crimestoppers.

There was no reason to believe anyone else was involved.

At the Vaucluse search, a police helicopterwas circling the area between Diamond Bay reserve and The Gap at Watsons Bay since before sunrise.

A rubbish bin at Diamond Bay Reserve at Vaucluse has been taped off as part of a crime scene

Specialist Police Rescue teams are involved in the operation at The Gap

Officers found some of the belongings to Thijssen at the reserve along with ‘an item linked to the homicide’. It was unclear what exactly this was.  

Shortly after 9am, a police rescue helicopter arrived for a possible body retrieval while marine area command continued patrolling the coastline.

More than 25 uniformed officers canvassed the area, looking through gutters and bushes in a bid to retrieve evidence.

Plain-clothed detectives could be seen speaking to a nearby resident.

Detectives, uniformed officers, along with specialist police rescue team members were scouring the high cliffs, which were also cordoned off with police tape.

READ MORE: ‘Arrogant’ hockey coach suspected of murdering female colleague was a polarising figure at school who was liked by girls but hated by many boys, ex student says 

error: Content is protected !!