Australian police are investigating the death of 21-year-old Sydney water polo coach Lilie James. Her body was found in the bathroom of the private school where she worked, and the extensive injuries indicate that she was the victim of a brutal murder. This event sparked a heated discussion in Australia about the growing wave of violence against women. “Horror has gripped the entire country,” the BBC commented on Monday.
The body of 21-year-old Lilie James was found in the toilet of the St Andrew’s Cathedral School gymnasium just before midnight on Wednesday. According to the website of the Australian station ABC News, it is considered an elite, private Anglican school in the center of Sydney with a 138-year history.
Murder of a water polo coach
According to Australian police, the school water polo coach’s “serious head injuries” indicate that she was the victim of murder. The crime was allegedly committed – probably using a hammer – a few hours before the body was found, reports the BBC, citing unofficial reports from local media.
According to press reports, surveillance camera recordings show 24-year-old hockey coach Paul Thijssen following the 21-year-old into the bathroom. The 24-year-old, who called the service himself, allegedly left the room alone after some time. Local media reported that James had recently ended a five-week relationship with Thijssen. After finding the coach’s body, police launched a large-scale manhunt for the coach in a Sydney suburb. On Friday morning, officers found his body.
Shortly after James’ death, the ABC reported that she was combining school work in Sydney with her studies. Days after her death, an Australian broadcaster published a statement from her family. “She was full of life, sociable and very loved by her family and friends,” said the deceased’s relatives, thanking them for the support they received during the “difficult time.” “As the police investigation is ongoing, we will not be making any further comment,” the statement read.
Violence against women in Australia
The discovery of the body of 21-year-old Lilie James and the circumstances of her death leaked to the media in the following days were shocking Australia. On Monday, the British BBC writes about a murder at an elite school that “horrifies Australia.” “Since Australia was awakened by the news of a body found in the bathroom of an elite private school in Sydney, horror has gripped the country,” the British broadcaster reported.
The crime sparked a heated debate in Australia about the authorities’ long-standing struggle with the “epidemic” of domestic violence cases. According to data from the organization Counting Dead Women, Lilie James is the 41st Australian this year to die as a result of gender-based violence.
As the media reminds, in the last 10 days alone three women – including James – were most likely murdered by men they knew. All of them lost their lives in their homes or workplaces.
Main photo source: ilie.james.1/Facebook