Taxi Driver Arrested in Diplomat's Death in Beirut

Rebecca Dykes' body was found alongside a highway Saturday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2017 7:11 AM CST
Taxi Driver Arrested in Diplomat's Death in Beirut
This undated family photo released on Sunday, Dec 17, 2017 by the Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London, shows Rebecca Dykes, a British staffer at the British embassy in Lebanon, who was found strangled by the side of the road on Saturday.   (Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office via AP)

The death of a British diplomat in Beirut was not politically motivated but a criminal act, a police official tells the AP. The BBC reports a taxi driver has been arrested in the death of 30-year-old Rebecca Dykes, whose body was found Saturday alongside a highway in the Lebanese city. The official says the suspect, identified as "Tariq H," per the Guardian, has confessed to the crime; it's believed Dykes was sexually assaulted and strangled. The suspect was apprehended Monday using CCTV footage, which captured his license plate number. He reportedly picked Dykes up as she left a farewell party for a colleague in Beirut's Gemayze neighborhood Friday night.

The AP notes the murder has rattled Lebanon, which rarely sees crimes of this nature, particularly ones involving foreigners. Indeed, the Telegraph's Beirut correspondent describes Beirut as a "very safe city" and says "everyone is incredibly shocked. ... It's a village city, a very tight-knit community, so when something happens to one person, it feels quite close." Dykes had been at the UK embassy in Beirut as a program and policy manager with the Department for International Development since January, and had been due to head home for Christmas. (Canada has been shaken by the deaths of a billionaire and his wife.)

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