A Sydney community reeling from the loss of a “much loved” school water polo coach who was murdered days ago has held a candlelight vigil to mourn her.
Lilie James, 21, was found dead with serious head injuries at St Andrew’s Cathedral School, in Sydney’s CBD, where she worked, on Wednesday night.
Grieving members of the Kogarah Bay community, where James lived, comforted each other and shared their memories of the young coach in a candle lit vigil in nearby Sans Souci on Saturday.
Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
James’s water polo club the Balmain Tigers Water Polo club is due to pay their respects to their former teammate with a minute’s silence before their division 1 and 2 games on Sunday.
In a statement released by family on Friday, James was described as “vibrant, outgoing, and very much loved by her family and friends”.
James is believed to have been murdered by her ex-boyfriend and colleague Paul Thijssen, 24, whose body was found off the coast of Vaucluse, in Sydney’s east, on Friday morning.
Lilie James is believed to have been murdered by Paul Thijssen. Credit: 7NEWSCommunity members gathered for a vigil to remember James on Saturday. Credit: 7NEWSThijssen’s body was found on rocks at the bottom of
a cliff Vaucluse. Credit: 7NEWS
“Property associated with the homicide” was located in the same area on Thursday.
The discovery James’ body at the school sparked a manhunt for Thijssen, who was captured on CCTV in the hours after the murder in what’s believed to be his final moments.
In the footage, Thijssen is seen walking up and down a path, and getting back into his car before it is understood he called triple-0 at about 11pm on Wednesday to notify police about James’ body at the school.
A friend of the James family who launched a GoFundMe said they “will be grieving this loss forever”.
“Everyone who has been graced with the presence of Lilie will be broken forever,” Daniel Makovec wrote.
“With tears streaming, numb with disbelief, this new journey is now a long one for the family.
“We look for your support and take this time to reflect on Lilie, Lilie’s love for family and friends.”
James’ death marks the 55th woman to be killed in Australia this year, according to The Red Heart Campaign.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
Woman dies in single-vehicle crash as car smashes into tree
Emergency response as man becomes trapped in car following Melbourne crash
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.