Australian police are investigating the death of 21-year-old Sydney water polo coach Lily James. Her body was found in the bathroom of the private school where she worked, and the extensive injuries indicated she was the victim of a brutal murder. The event sparked a heated debate about the current wave of violence against women in Australia. “Horror has gripped the whole country,” the BBC commented on Monday.
The body of 21-year-old Lily James was found in the toilet of the St Andrews Cathedral School gym just before midnight on Wednesday. According to the website of Australian station ABC News, it is considered an elite, private Anglican school in the heart of Sydney with a history of 138 years.
Water Polo Coach Murdered
According to Australian police, the school water polo coach’s “severe head injuries” indicate he was murdered. The crime was allegedly committed – possibly with a hammer – hours before the body was found, the BBC reported, citing unofficial reports from local media.
According to press reports, surveillance camera footage shows 24-year-old hockey coach Paul Thijsen following the 21-year-old into the bathroom. The 24-year-old man who invited himself to the service left the room alone after a while. Local media reported that James recently ended his five-week relationship with Thijsen. Police have launched a search for the coach in suburban Sydney after his body was found. On Friday morning, authorities found his body.
After James’ death, the ABC reported that she had been combining schoolwork with her studies in Sydney. Days after his death, an Australian broadcaster released a statement from his family. “He was full of life, sociable and much loved by his family and friends,” said relatives of the deceased, thanking them for their support during a “difficult time”. “As the police investigation is ongoing, we will not be commenting,” the statement said.
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Violence against women in Australia
Australia was shocked when the body of 21-year-old Lily James was found and the circumstances of her death leaked to the media in the following days. On Monday, the BBC writes about a murder at an elite school that “horrifies Australia”. “Since Australia awoke to news of a body found in the bathroom of an elite private school in Sydney, horror gripped the country,” the British broadcaster reported.
The crime has sparked a heated debate in Australia about the authorities’ long-standing struggle with the “epidemic” of domestic violence cases. Lily James is the 41st Australian to die this year as a result of gender-based violence, according to figures from Counting Dead Women.
As the media reminds us, three women – including James – may have been killed by men they knew in the last 10 days alone. All of them lost their lives in their homes or workplaces.
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Main photo source: ilie.james.1/Facebook
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