Suspected murderer of British diplomat 'was Beirut Uber driver'

Suspected murderer of British diplomat 'was Beirut Uber driver with criminal record'
3 min read
18 December, 2017
The suspect apprehended on Monday morning in connection to the murder of a UK embassy staffer in Beirut was reportedly an Uber driver with a criminal record.
The links to Uber will raise questions about its safety checks [Getty]
The suspect apprehended on Monday morning in connection to the murder of a UK embassy staffer in Beirut was reportedly an Uber driver with a criminal record.

The man, identified as Tarek H. by authorities in Lebanon, worked for the international ride-hailing company and the victim, Rebecca Dykes, may have been a customer, sources told local English newspaper The Daily Star.

There have been concerns in recent months over Uber's privacy and safety record and questions about whether the company conducts enough background checks on the drivers it hires. The controversy led the city of London to briefly ban Uber in the British capital earlier this year.


When contacted by The Daily Star for comment on Monday, Uber confirmed that Tarek H. worked for the company.

A statement from an Uber spokesman read: "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 suspect in the murder that shocked Lebanon's expat community had 'confessed' to killing the British diplomat, according to police sources.

A Lebanese police official told reporters Tarek H. was apprehended on Monday morning in connection to Dykes' killing.

Sources quoted by The Telegraph on Monday had said the suspect worked as a taxi driver.

The official said the murder was a "criminal act" and not politically motivated, but provided no further details. 


The body of Rebecca Dykes - known to friends as Becky - was found Saturday on the side of a busy highway north of Beirut. Police initially struggled to identify the body, circulating her description in the hope someone would recognise her. 

The UK's foreign office later confirmed the death of the Beirut embassy staffer, who worked for the department for international development.

Earlier, a forensics official said she was strangled with a rope and that authorities were investigating whether she was also sexually assaulted.

She had last been seen alive in the Gemmayzeh district of Beirut, a popular street full of bars and cafes where Dykes had been at a party.

The Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) - the national police force - has yet to release an official statement but ISF sources told The Daily Star traffic cameras had captured the license plate of the suspect's car as it travelled away from the area.

The source said Dykes was "forcibly taken" from the street while she was making her way home Friday night.

Dykes worked for the freign office and the department for international development in London on projects from Iraq to Libya, before moving to Beirut in January 2017.

A family spokesman said: "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. We are doing all we can to understand what happened. We request that the media respect our privacy as we come together as a family at this very difficult time."

Her murder has shocked the expat community in Lebanon, which has a low crime rate despite sporadic political violence. Apalled Lebanese and expats in Lebanon expressed a shattered sense of security on social media, calling for more vigilence and precautions among women.