What happened to Lilie James and her suspected killer Paul Thijssen? | The Sun

LILIE James was a water polo instructor found brutally murdered at the prestigious Australian school where she worked.

The 21-year-old was allegedly beaten to death with a hammer by her ex-boyfriend Paul Thijssen, who later took his own life.

Who was Lilie James and what happened to her?

Lilie James was a water polo coach working at St Andrew's Cathedral School in Sydney's central business district.

The 21-year-old had also been studying sports business at the University of Technology Sydney while balancing the part time role.

Close friends described her as "the nicest and kindest person".

Lilie's body was found in a St Andrew's gym bathroom around midnight on Wednesday, October 25.

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She is believed to have been beaten to death with a hammer, according to NSW Police.

Her father had earlier contacted police when she failed to return home.

Lilie's suspected killer is Paul Thijssen, 24, who she dated in the five weeks leading up to her death.

Dutch-born Thijssen also worked at the school as a sports coach and had previously attended St Andrew's as a student.

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Police found Lilie's body with "serious" head injuries after Thijssen, alerted them of her death over the phone.

Reports later emerged that Thijssen sent a text to Lilie's father using her mobile, asking him to pick her up from the school.

CCTV footage showed Thijssen following Lilie into a bathroom at 7pm on Wednesday.

Video captured Thijssen leaving the area over an hour later while Lilie is never seen emerging.

The pair's relationship is believed to have recently ended.

Before her death, Lilie had lived in Sans Souci, in Sydney's south, and graduated from all girls school Danebank in 2020.

Her family released a statement on Friday which paid tribute to the "vibrant, outgoing" young woman.

"(She was) very much loved by her family and friends," the statement read.

"We are tremendously grateful for the support of our community at this difficult time.

"As a police investigation is underway, we will not be providing further comments."

Lilie's cause of death will be determined via a post-mortem examination but NSW Police have deemed it a homicide.

Who was Paul Thijssen and what happened to him?

Paul Thijssen was a sports coach who is suspected of killing his former girlfriend and colleague Lilie James before taking his own life.

Thijssen, 24, was originally from The Netherlands, and had studied at St Andrew's from 2015 until 2017.

In his final year, Thijssen was sports captain before studying business at Utrecht University in The Netherlands.

He returned to Australia and spent the pandemic alone in Sydney, something which reportedly had a negative impact on him.

Students at the school noted Thijssen was a “creep who was flirtatious with the girls” at St Andrew's.

“He had a wandering eye and flirtatious personality which unsettled young girls in the sports team,” one student told the Saturday Telegraph.

“I am absolutely shocked by the circumstances but there’s no doubt that he was a creep.”

Former classmates also noted Thijssen was “arrogant” and “hated” by boys and liked by girls.

In the hours after the murder, Thijssen was capture on CCTV footage walking along a clifftop footpath, in Vaucluse.

The footage, along Chris Bang Cresent, which is in Sydney's richest area, showed Thijssen arriving in the street at 8.47pm.

He was then seen getting out of his silver Lexus at 9.03pm before appearing to dump a hammer, the apparent murder weapon, in a bin.

It would be another two hours before Thijssen called police to notify them of the horrific murder scene.

He is then believed to have jumped off the cliffs at Vaucluse Viewpoint, near an area famed for several high profile suicides.

A widescale search ensued to find Thijssen's body before remains were discovered before 8am on Friday.

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Fingerprints later confirmed these to be those of the alleged killer.

Thijssen's Dutch parents are believed to have been in their home country when the deaths took place.

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