Lilie James' killer secretly cremated two weeks after her murder

Lilie James’s killer Paul Thijssen is secretly laid to rest – but no-one has picked up his ashes – as startling revelation emerges about how he knew the location where he ended his life

  • Killer Paul Thijssen has been secretly cremated
  • His ashes remain uncollected at  Sydney crematorium
  • Know more? Email [email protected] 


The man who killed Sydney water polo coach Lilie James before taking his own life has been quietly cremated – but his ashes remain uncollected at the funeral parlour. 

Paul Thijssen, the 24-year-old Dutch national who murdered Ms James, 21, at St Andrew’s Cathedral School three weeks ago, was laid to rest at a private service last Wednesday at Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs Crematorium and Memorial Park.

Thijssen’s body was found at the bottom of the cliffs at Vaucluse, in Sydney’s east, after he beat Ms James to death with a hammer in the school gym bathroom some time after 8pm on October 25.

It has been reported that Thijssen’s parents, Dutch corporate executives Esther and Stef Thijssen, travelled to Sydney in the wake of their son’s heinous crime; however, it’s unclear whether they attended the secret memorial service.

Daily Mail Australia has learned the couple has not contacted the crematorium to indicate what they want to do with their son’s remains – but a source said it was still ‘quite early’ to have done so. 

The remains of Paul Thijssen have been cremated, but his ashes remain uncollected

Lilie James (pictured) will be remembered and her life celebrated after the 21-year-old was tragically killed by Paul Thijssen

It’s believed they did not want to take his remains back to the Netherlands, and may scatter his ashes in Australia instead.

Daily Mail Australia can also reveal that both Thijssen and Ms James visited a friend in Vaucluse about three weeks before he murdered her.

Some residents believe that visit – close to the cliffs where his body was found – is how he knew of the location where he took his own life. 

The brutal murder shocked Australia and made world news.

Ms James died after allegedly agreeing to meet up with Thijssen following her decision to end their short relationship. 

Police and school staff found Ms James’ body inside the school’s gym bathroom where both she and Thijssen had worked as sports coaches.

After killing her, Thijssen drove a borrowed Lexus to Vaucluse where he dumped  a hammer and other items, and sat for several hours during which he phoned police and revealed the location of Lilie’s body.

He is then believed to have fallen from the clifftops at Diamond Bay reserve, prompting a large land and sea search for him the next day.

It wasn’t until early on October 27 that his remains were found after tradesmen spotted Thijssen’s body wedged in rocks near the shore.

Police attempted to retrieve the body via a surf ski in rough seas, eventually recovering it on foot and carrying it up to the road. 

Paul Thijssen’s remains – found wedged on rocks 36 hours after Lilie James’ murder – were cremated at Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs crematorium (above) on November 8 

Paul Thijssen’s body was found on rocks on October 27 and brought up to the road (above) after which he was formally identified

Thijssen is believed to have undergone a post-mortem examination where his remains were formally identified via medical records from The Netherlands. 

The final chapter of Thijssen’s life has emerged days before grieving family and friends prepare to celebrate Ms James’ memory.

Ms James will be farewelled by family, friends, students and others at a ceremony which will be livestreamed to pupils she knew and taught at St Andrews Cathedral School.    

Following her murder, her former high school Danebank Anglican School for Girls paid tribute on its Facebook page ‘to our treasured and dearly loved Alumna’.

‘To this young woman, whose joy was palpable, smile infectious and service to her community remarkable,’ the school posted.

‘We uphold the James family in prayer in this time of unimaginable grief.’

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