This article titled “Uber driver confesses to killing British diplomat in Beirut, says source” was written by Kareem Shaheen in Istanbul and Alexandra Topping, for The Guardian on Monday 18th December 2017 20.21 Asia/Kolkata
A Lebanese Uber driver has confessed to killing a British diplomat in Beirut, a judicial source has told the Guardian.
The body of Rebecca Dykes was found on the side of a motorway in the early hours of Saturday morning. Local police suggested she had been strangled. A judicial source later confirmed that she had been sexually assaulted.
Her body was found without any identity papers on the Metn highway, which leads out of the Lebanese capital to the north-eastern suburbs. A postmortem suggested she had died at about 4am on Saturday.
In an official statement released by the British Foreign Office on Monday her family said: “For Becky to have her life cruelly taken away in these circumstances is devastating to our family. Becky is simply irreplaceable and we will never fully recover from this loss.”
Dykes, who was believed to be 30 years old, had spent the evening with friends at a cafe in Gemmayze, a district of Beirut known for its bars and restaurants. She is thought to have left on her own at around midnight.
The suspect arrested on Monday morning has been named as Tariq H, a taxi driver for Uber.
The source said preliminary investigations showed the killing was not politically motivated, and that the suspect had confessed to the crime.
The source said Dykes had hired the driver using the ride-hailing app. Lebanon’s state news agency, NNA, said the vehicle that picked her up was identified using CCTV footage.
A spokesman for Uber said in an email: “We are horrified by this senseless act of violence. Our hearts are with the victim and her family. We are working with authorities to assist their investigation in any way we can.”
The British ambassador to Lebanon, Hugo Shorter, tweeted about Dykes’s death: “The whole embassy is deeply shocked, saddened by this news. My thoughts are with Becky’s family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss.
“We’re providing consular support to her family and working very closely with Lebanese authorities who are conducting the police investigation.”
Dykes worked as a programme and policy manager with the Department for International Development and as a policy manager with the Libya team at the Foreign Office, according to her LinkedIn page.
She had previously worked as an Iraq research analyst with the Foreign Office. She had a degree from Manchester University and a masters in international security and global governance from Birkbeck, University of London.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “Following the death of a British woman in Beirut, we are providing support to the family. We remain in close contact with local authorities. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”
The information branch of Lebanon’s internal security forces, the intelligence department of the police, is conducting the investigation.
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