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Suspect arrested in murder of British diplomat in Beirut

Rebecca Dykes, a British woman employed at the UK embassy in Lebanon, who has been found murdered, a senior official said on Dec. 17, 2017. (File photo/AFP)
BEIRUT: The information department of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) has arrested a male suspected of killing British Embassy employee, Rebecca Dykes.
The arrest took place within 48 hours of Dykes’ body being found by the side of a highway in Mount Lebanon early on Saturday.
The suspect, a taxi driver for Uber, reportedly picked Dykes up at midnight on Friday from the Gemmayze district of Beirut, where she had been having dinner with friends.
The suspect has been named as Tariq H., a native of Beirut, born in 1988.
“Dykes was used to requesting Uber’s services,” a security source told Arab News. “The driver she called on the night of the tragedy was supposed to drive her to her house in Ashrafieh, which was only a few minutes from where she was dining, but instead, he took her to an area between Dekwaneh and Nabaa, where he parked his car and (sexually assaulted) her.
“He then strangled her and took her body to the Metn expressway to conceal his crime, and he dumped her belongings in a waste dump,” he said.
The security source explained that the ISF information department tracked the suspect through Dykes’ mobile phone, which showed that the last call she made was to Uber, and revealed the driver’s name and photo.
“The suspect’s car was also captured on roadway surveillance cameras,” the source said.
Security forces arrested the suspect in an underground hideout in the Ashrafieh district in Beirut.
According to the same security source, “the suspect has a history of drug abuse.”
Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk called the British Ambassador to Lebanon, Hugo Shorter, and offered his condolences.
Machnouk said the suspect’s motive was purely criminal, not political. He personally followed up on the matter with ISF Director-General Maj. Gen. Imad Othman, who called President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri to brief them on the outcome of the investigation.
UK Ambassador Shorter visited Othman in the General Security Directorate and hailed the efforts of the information department and the speed with which the suspect was arrested.
On Sunday night, Shorter issued a statement saying how shocked and saddened the entire staff of the embassy was by Dykes’ death.
Her family said in a statement: “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.”

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