Crime expert suggests Lilie James’ killer wanted her father to find her body after text message

A crime expert has suggested the man suspected of murdering a young water polo coach may have wanted her father to find her body after it was revealed he sent a message from her phone following her death.

Lilie James, 21, is believed to have been killed by her former boyfriend Paul Thijssen, 24, in the gym bathroom of St Andrew’s Cathedral School — where they both worked — in Sydney’s CBD last Wednesday.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Criminologist Dr Xanthe Mallett discusses what motivated a killer’s text message.

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University of Newcastle criminologist Dr Xanthe Mallett spoke to Sunrise on Tuesday and speculated as to why Thijssen sent the text message from James’ phone pretending to be her.

7NEWS reported that using James’ phone, her killer messaged the victim’s dad, asking him to collect her from the school.

The message was sent after she is believed to have been bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

Sunrise host Nat Barr asked Mallett why Thijssen may have “sent a message to James’s dad after he allegedly killed her?”

“The only reason I can really think of that he would have sent that message was to get the father to attend the school,” Mallett said.

Criminologist Dr Xanthe Mallett (pictured) said Lilie James’ killer was trying to get her dad to come to the school. Credit: Sunrise

It is believed Thijssen had also called police, which led them to the discovery of James’ body.

“In essence, either he hoped the father would find Lilie or be there when the police found Lilie because he called them,” Mallett said.

Mallett also suggested Thijssen may have been hoping someone would “find her and call an ambulance”.

“Alternatively, he may have been wanting to potentially change the time at which the police thought she had died by sending those proof of life messages to her father and then later calling the police,” she said.

James’ father may have been ‘in danger’

Barr questioned if James’ father may have been in any danger after receiving the text message to come and collect his daughter from the school.

“Potentially,” Mallett told Barr.

“I’m not sure exactly when he (Thijssen) left the scene but he was there, he did have a weapon and obviously he did commit a very violent act, so anyone else attending that scene could have been in danger.”

A male body was found near the base of cliffs at Vaucluse in Sydney’s east on Friday.

Lilie James. Credit: Supplied

The body has since been formally identified as Thijssen, who had also been caught on CCTV in the area before James’ body was found.

Students returned to the school on Monday, after it was closed last Thursday and Friday, except for those students sitting Year 12 exams.

At the first assembly held at the school since the murder, head of school Julie McGonigle said James was a ”ray of light” and Thijssen’s “actions are completely incongruent with who we knew”.

A GoFundMe campaign set up on behalf of James’ family has so raised more than $21,000.

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