Fresh claims about the man who callously murdered Lilie James at St Andrew’s Cathedral School have surfaced, with students recalling his “creepy” behaviour toward them.

Paul Thijssen, 24, allegedly murdered school water polo coach Lilie James, 21, in a bathroom at the prestigious Sydney school just after midnight on Wednesday. He was confirmed dead by police overnight after an extensive search.

The pair both worked at the school and briefly dated, but the relationship ended about a week ago.

Now students have recalled to the Saturday Telegraph how the former sports assistant used to “boast” about his relationship with Ms James, among other behaviour that made them uncomfortable.

Speaking exclusively to the paper, students described Thijssen as a “creep who was flirtatious with the girls” at the school.

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

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

Thijssen was called “arrogant” by former peers – he attended the school and graduated in 2017 – who noted he was “hated” by boys and liked by girls.

A spokesperson for St Andrew’s Cathedral School told the Telegraph they had never received any complaints from parents or students about Thijssen.

The claims come after a body found in Sydney Harbour on Friday was identified as that of the 24-year-old sports coach.

A search for the alleged murderer at “The Gap” in Vaucluse commenced after police traced a triple-zero call from him to the area.

He reportedly called police from the notorious suicide spot informing them there was a body at the school.

Officers arrived at the St Andrew’s gym just after midnight on Wednesday to find Ms James’ body had suffered “serious head injuries”. Unnamed police sources have told the Sydney Morning Herald she was beaten to death with a hammer.

On Friday morning, officers pulled a body from the water at the base of the cliff near Diamond Bay Reserve.

Fingerprints from the remains were cross referenced with those kept at the Dutch embassy leading to confirmation the body was Thijssen’s, the Daily Mail reports.

The Daily Telegraph has described chilling CCTV footage that shows Thijssen’s final moments at the reserve.

Security cameras captured Thijssen, dressed in black, arriving at Chris Bang Crescent in Vaucluse, at 8.47pm. He was later seen walking along the cliffside footpath at 9.03pm.

He is seen approaching a bin, which police sources allege he may have dumped the hammer he allegedly used as a murder weapon, the publication reports.

Ten minutes later, he is seen returning to his car, where he sat before driving to another clifftop location.

Ms James and Thijssen met at the school on Wednesday night where a fight ensued.

CCTV footage from the school, obtained by police, reportedly shows Thijssen following Ms James into the gym bathroom, before he is seen leaving the area over an hour later, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Four hours later, Thijssen reportedly rang police to inform them of a body on school grounds which should be investigated.

Officers arrived at the school after Ms James’ family alerted police as she hadn’t returned home.

It’s understood Thijssen — who comes from a privileged family — moved to Australia from the Netherlands in 2015 and began studying at St Andrew’s.

He had been a sports captain as a student, graduating in 2017. He later secured a job at the school as a cricket and hockey coach.

He spent 18 months alone in Australia during the Covid pandemic, before reuniting with his family in the Netherlands, according to The Daily Mail.

An unmanned source told the publication the 24-year-old may have been affected by this dark time, however, noted he is “not psychotic”.

It is understood the 24-year-old’s parents were in the Netherlands at the time of the alleged murder, but often spend months at a time in Australia.

Tributes have poured in for Ms James, a beloved daughter, friend, teammate, and staff member at St Andrew’s.

Flowers have been laid outside the school, as the community grieves Ms James, who has been remembered as a “vibrant” and “outgoing” person.

Ms James’ father, Jamie, said the family was “devastated and heartbroken by the loss of our beautiful Lilie James”, in a statement to NCA NewsWire.

“She was vibrant, outgoing and very much loved by her friends and family,” he said, stopping multiple times to gather himself.

“We are tremendously grateful for the support of the community at this difficult time.”

A statement from the James family described the 21-year-old as a “loving beautiful girl filled with love for family and friends, focused and determined for her love of teaching and helping others.”

A distraught family friend, who asked not to be named, told the ABC the family were “in disbelief and need answers and time”.

St Andrew’s principal Dr Julie McGonigle sent a letter to parents on Friday thanking the school community for the ”love and support” given in light of the tragedy, and denounced the “horrors of evil” that had occurred.

Dr McGonigle’s message relayed tributes from Ms James close colleagues.

“In all of my dealings with Lilie, she was full of vitality, energy, enthusiasm and a natural fit in our community,” she wrote.

“Lilie‘s bright, bubbly personally will be dearly missed. She was a vibrant, smart, compassionate young lady who impacted the lives of many at our school and we are utterly heartbroken by this news.”

Earlier, Dr McGonigle said she would not let the tragedy “define” the school community.

with NCA NewsWire


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