Brit govt worker raped and killed by Uber driver who dumped her body by the road

5 August 2022, 10:50

Rebecca Dykes was killed in 2017
Rebecca Dykes was killed in 2017. Picture: Foreign Office

By Will Taylor

A British woman was raped and murdered by an Uber driver before her body was found dumped by the side of the road.

Department for International Development worker Rebecca Dykes had been on a girl's night out at a bar in Beirut, Lebanon, in December 2017 before she was picked up by Tariq Houshieh.

But he went on to rape her, strangle her with his hoodie's cord and dumped her body at the roadside, MyLondon reported.

He was given the death sentence in 2019 but is said to be trying to get it commuted.

It has also been reported he had a criminal record and had been arrested for alleged harassment and theft.

An inquest at Inner South London Coroner's Court heard on Wednesday about security arrangements for government staff in the troubled country of Lebanon.

Alyson King, a security officer, said staff are briefed about security, have personal alarms on them and take part in regular sessions about security and safety.

Read more: 'Miracle she's alive': Brit teenager gored by bison and paralysed on second day of US trip

Staff were advised to use one of three taxi firms but Ms King said: "It came to light afterwards many staff were using other taxi companies when they found them convenient."

She said she was satisfied the security briefings were accurate but it would continue to be updated.

She said she was not in post at the time of the incident and would check if the extensive use of none-approved taxi firms had been brought up after being pushed on the issue by senior coroner Andrew Harrison.

The Foreign Office's head of security, Bharat Joshi, said a visit was made after Rebecca was killed and found the security culture was "very, very strong", saying that staff would "choose not to follow [the taxi] advice".

"Many people had been using Uber across Lebanon and there had never been a serious incident," he said, with the approved firms sometimes forcing customers into waits of 20 minutes, while Uber is recognised as a brand and is convenient.

Read more: British woman killed and husband critical after speedboat crash in Turkey

Coroner Harrison said "great steps" have been taken since the tragedy and "nothing in life is risk free… the risks are known and the steps have been taken".

Rebecca's mother Jane Houng said: "I just hope that no parent has to go through what we have had to go through.

"One thing that pained me very much was that now embassy staff wear personal alarms.

"I think if Rebecca had been wearing a personal alarm at that point in time it probably would have saved her life.

"When I went to Lebanon shortly after her death and sat around the table with Rebecca's friends and colleagues they all said they used Uber. It was common place for personal travel."

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