- A taxi driver confessed to killing British diplomat Rebecca Dykes
- The woman's body showed signs of strangulation and sexual assault
- The woman was last seen getting into an SUV on Friday night
- The murder was most likely not politically motivated
The man suspected of killing British diplomat Rebecca Dykes over the weekend confessed to the crime Monday, a security source said.
The suspect was identified by the source as taxi driver Tarek H., who was arrested earlier Monday.
The source said that it was not clear whether the Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch or General Security had arrested the man. An official statement would likely be released soon from whichever agency was responsible, the source said.
Saturday afternoon, Lebanese authorities found the body of a woman in her 30s along the Emile Lahoud road, also known as the Metn expressway.
Tarek H. was reportedly arrested around 3 a.m. Monday, after security camera footage pointed to his involvement in Dykes’ death.
The source said Traffic Management Center cameras had captured the license plate of the suspect’s car as he traveled between Beirut’s Ashrafieh and Nahr al-Mawt, on the eastern outskirts of the city, overnight Friday.
Dykes’ body was found with a rope around the neck and obvious signs of strangulation. An initial autopsy also showed signs of sexual assault, security sources said Sunday.
Although police released a sketch of the woman they had found, authorities initially struggled to identify the body.
After not hearing from Dykes, friends raised the alarm with police Sunday and it was quickly determined that the body was hers.
The source added that the murder was being treated as a criminal offense and was in all likelihood not politically motivated. The case will be transferred to an investigative judge, the source said.
On Friday night, Dykes left Demo, a bar in Gemmayzeh, shortly before midnight, according to a source who was in the bar at the time. She was then believed to have gotten into an SUV. That was the last time she was seen alive.
A graduate of the University of Manchester, Dykes spoke fluent Mandarin having worked as a teacher in China and Hong Kong for four years prior to joining the U.K. Foreign Office. After joining the U.K.’s Stabilization Unit, she went on to work for the Foreign Office and DFID in London on projects from Iraq to Libya before moving to Beirut in January 2017.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. We are doing all we can to understand what happened,” the Dykes family said in a statement released Sunday, also requesting that their privacy be respected.
British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter tweeted Sunday: “The whole embassy is deeply shocked, saddened by this news. My thoughts are with Becky’s family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss.”
Former U.K. Ambassador Tom Fletcher also wrote on Twitter that “[I] know [Lebanon] will share deep shock and grief at the loss of such a bright star, working on the humanitarian frontline.”
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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