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A body pulled from the water in Vaucluse has been formally identified as the man connected to the murder of 21-year-old Sydney schoolteacher Lilie James.

Ms James’ body was found in a gym bathroom stall of St Andrew’s Cathedral School, where she taught, in Sydney’s CBD on Wednesday night, with the woman sustaining “serious head injuries”.

On Saturday morning, police confirmed the body has been formally identified, and it’s understood the man is 23-year-old fellow schoolteacher Paul Thijssen.

Mr Thijssen, a Dutch national and St Andrews alumni, had been wanted for questioning by police. It’s believed the pair dated for about five weeks, before Ms James ended her relationship with the sports coach and assistant.

NSW Police said inquiries were continuing and a report will be prepared for the Coroner.

At about 7.40am on Friday, police commenced a lengthy four-and-a-half-hour operation to retrieve the body off the coast near Diamond Bay Reserve in Vaucluse.

Officers from the Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command were also assisted by the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit, the Marine Area Command, and the Westpac Rescue helicopter.

On Friday, Ms James’ family released a statement and said they were “devastated and heartbroken by the loss of our beautiful Lilie James”.

“She was vibrant, outgoing, and very much loved by her family and friends,” it said.

“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. We ask that you please respect our privacy and direct any media queries to the NSW Police Media Unit.”

Read related topics:Sydney

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By Rahul

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