Paul Thijssen’s family won’t repatriate body following murder of Lilie James

The family of the man who was wanted over the murder of Lilie James has made a decision on his remains, 7NEWS understands.

Police recovered a body on Friday near the base of cliffs at Vaucluse, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, as they investigated the homicide of the much-loved water polo coach.

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The body has since been formally identified as that of Paul Thijssen – James’ ex-boyfriend, colleague and suspected killer.

The pair had both worked at St Andrew’s Cathedral School and are believed to have been in a relationship before James, 21, was murdered last Wednesday.

7NEWS now reports Thijssen’s family will not repatriate their only child’s body home to the Netherlands.

It is understood they will instead scatter his ashes in Sydney before returning home.

James was found dead with horrific head injuries inside the campus gymnasium toilets at St Andrew’s just before midnight on October 25. Detectives are not looking for any other suspects.

Meanwhile, a crime expert has suggested Thijssen may have wanted James’ father to find her body after it was revealed he sent a message from her phone shortly after her death.

7NEWS reported that James’ father received a message from his daughter’s phone asking to be picked up from the school.

Water polo coach Lilie James and her ex-boyfriend Paul Thijssen. Credit: 7NEWS

“In essence, either he hoped the father would find Lilie or be there when the police found Lilie because he called them,” University of Newcastle criminologist Dr Xanthe 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.

A GoFundMe campaign set up on behalf of James’ family has raised close to $22,000.

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