Uber driver arrested in murder of UK embassy official in Lebanon

Official said she was strangled with a rope and that authorities were investigating whether she was also sexually assaulted

10:21 December 18, 2017
Rebecca Dykes

A Lebanese police official says authorities have detained a man suspected in the killing a British woman who worked at the UK Embassy in Beirut.  

He is a driver for Uber and has previous criminal violations, a senior Lebanese security source said on Monday.

An Uber spokesman 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 they can".

The official says the suspect confessed that he had killed the woman whose body was found early on Saturday.

The official said on Monday that the murder was a "criminal act" and not politically motivated.

Britain's Foreign Office had confirmed the death of the embassy staffer, who worked for the Department for International Development. British media and friends identified her as Rebecca Dykes.

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

The police and the forensics official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

Earlier Report

Beirut: A British woman employed at the UK embassy in Lebanon has been found murdered, a senior official said Sunday, adding that the crime did not appear to be political.

"Our first impression is that it's not politically motivated," the official, who is involved in the investigation, told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He confirmed that the victim's name was Rebecca Dykes but could not elaborate on the exact circumstances of her death.

A statement from the Foreign Office and the family provided no further details.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. We are doing all we can to understand what happened," the family said in a statement passed on by the Foreign Office.

According to her social media profiles, she was employed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

The Lebanese official said her body was found "on the side of the Emile Lahoud road" just north of Beirut.

Her body was found on Saturday evening.

He said investigators were looking into reports that Dykes had been sexually assaulted.

"The whole embassy is deeply shocked and saddened by this news. Our thoughts are with Becky's family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss," British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter said in a statement.

"We are providing consular support to Becky's family and working very closely with the Lebanese local authorities who are conducting the police investigation," he said.