A former headteacher of the elite school where teacher Lilie James, 21, was murdered was blasted last week for saying her killer, Paul Thijssen, was a ‘role model’ and an ‘absolute delight’ .
Today, Dr John Collier’s previous comments about an evil teacher at the same Sydney school, St Andrews, resurfaced.
In September 2015, Robert Emmett, son of New South Wales judge Arthur Emmett and grandson of former chief justice Sir Laurence Street, was convicted of filming up the skirts of St Andrews students.
Four months earlier, Emmett pleaded guilty to charges that included filming the private parts of three 14-year-old girls.
After Emmett’s arrest in 2013, Dr. Collier wrote to parents saying students had been asked to “show compassion” to the maths teacher.
Water polo coach Lilie James was discovered in the gymnasium toilet at the exclusive St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney’s CBD on October 25.
In 2013, Dr John Collier (pictured) wrote to parents saying pupils had been asked to ‘show compassion’ towards a maths teacher who was later found guilty of filming the private parts of three 14 year old girls.
“Regardless of the students’ feelings about the teacher’s misconduct, they were asked to have compassion for the emotional devastation that Emmett will undoubtedly feel and, out of consideration for his wife and children, to be measured in their remarks. “wrote Dr. Collier.
“There is no evidence that these attentions were paid to female staff members,” he added, and there is “no point in distorting or amplifying (the alleged crimes).”
The memo also informs parents that the school was able to help police identify three female students through footage of what it calls “largely unsuccessful attempts” at illegal filming.
Dr Collier, who is now headteacher of the all-boys Shore School in North Sydney, also wrote on the St Andrews website at the time that “a member of staff has been accused of an offense relating to filming girls’ legs, mainly in community settings.
But when the case came to court in 2015, it was about much more than “filming the girls’ legs.”
Following his arrest, police seized a computer hard drive containing 9,517 images and 362 videos of child pornography.
Following the arrest of teacher Robert Emmett (pictured), police seized a computer hard drive containing 9,517 images and 362 videos of child pornography.
Dr Collier said Paul Thijssen (pictured), who murdered Lilie James, was a ‘role model’
His defense team said Emmett was diagnosed with “psychosexual issues,” best described as a complex paraphilia, with “voyeuristic, pedophilic, hebephilic and fetishistic characteristics.”
Emmett’s wife, Eliza, wrote in a reference to his character that the facts of the case made her “sick to her stomach”, but she still believed he was a good man.
Emmett pleaded guilty to three counts of filming a person’s private parts and one count of possessing child pornography after police found material showing he filmed up the skirts of three students aged 14.
But Emmett was not jailed for his crimes, he was allowed to serve his two-year sentence in the community after receiving an intensive corrections order.
Judge Ian McClintock said the child abuse documents before him demonstrated “disturbing and perverse exploitation of children”.
But he found that Emmett had demonstrated a growing awareness of the criminality of his offenses and had demonstrated a determination to rehabilitate himself.
The close-knit community at St Andrews Cathedral School has been left shaken following the death of Ms James.
Water polo coach Lilie James was discovered in the gymnasium toilet at the exclusive St. Andrew’s Cathedral School on October 25.
The 21-year-old was bludgeoned to death with a hammer by her ex-boyfriend and colleague Thijssen, 24, after ending their whirlwind five-week relationship.
Hours later, Thijssen phoned police to confess before plunging to his death from cliffs above Diamond Bay, in the eastern suburbs of Vaucluse.
Dr. Collier wrote in the school newsletter last week: “(Paul Thijssen) was, by all accounts, an absolute delight.
“I knew him years ago as a good student, a prefect, a role model… He was not a monster; on the contrary, in the last five hours of his life, he committed a monstrous act.
Lilie James (pictured) was murdered at Sydney’s elite St Andrews school
Ms James (pictured) was murdered by Paul Thijssen in the school gymnasium
In November 2019, Dr Collier hit the headlines again when year 12 girls at St Andrews were humiliated by being lectured about the length of their skirts.
A social media post from the time stated that “all the boys had to leave, the doors were closed and the girls were informed that if their skirts were too (short) they had to use one of the tools provided to lengthen them “.
The post said the girls were yelled at and made to kneel on the floor to check the length of their skirts.
Dr Collier, who was not present during the uniform inspection, later said this was not the case but that the girls had been given “tools” to lengthen their skirts.
He said: “We apologized to the girls if they felt in some way disrespected in the process.
“And we said that in the future we would find other ways to resolve this problem, giving them more time to respond.”
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Dr Collier for comment.