Uber Driver Confesses to Strangling British Diplomat Rebecca Dykes As 'She Resisted Rape'

A Lebanese taxi driver has confessed to killing a UK diplomat after she fought back as he tried to rape her.

Rebecca Dykes, 30, was found strangled near a highway outside Lebanon's capital Beirut on Sunday (December 17).

A man thought to be behind the murder was arrested early on Monday after being tracked down through security cameras. The suspect, who worked for ride-hailing company Uber, later admitted to strangling her to death.

The victim was found with string tied around her neck.

"The prisoner has confessed that he took advantage of the drunken state of the young woman and he drove towards a highway without her realizing. He pulled over in a quiet place," a judicial source told AFP.

"When he began to sexually assault her, she resisted, she was able to escape from the car and started to scream, until he took her back to the car and strangled her."

Dykes, who worked at the British embassy, had spent Friday evening at a bar in the capital's Gemmayzeh neighborhood.

She was last seen alive around 11 pm, when she left her group of friends to return home.

Dykes left with another friend, but then the two women separated to go to their respective apartments.

The suspect, 35-year-old Tarek Hesso, had served several prison sentences, according to Lebanese National News Agency (NNA). He is expected to be charged with rape and murder later this week.

Uber said it was assisting authorities with the investigation.

"We are horrified by this senseless act of violence. Our hearts are with the victim and her family," a company spokesman told AFP.

Rebecca Dykes
Rebecca Dykes, 30, was found strangled near a highway outside Lebanon's capital Beirut on December 17. Foreign office

Dykes was due to travel back home from Christmas the day after she was murdered.

She is believed to have grown up in Hong Kong before attending Malvern St James girls' boarding school in Worcestershire, according to Sky News.

She studied anthropology at the University of Manchester before doing a Masters in International Security and Global Governance at Birkbeck, University of London.

Dykes' family released a statement, through the Foreign Office, after learning about her death.

"For Becky to have her life cruelly taken away in these circumstances is devastating to our family," read the statement.

"Becky is simply irreplaceable and we will never fully recover from this loss. Becky was genuine, generous, and loving, as anyone who knew her would agree. She was intelligent, ambitious, and dedicated to her work.

"Becky had a love of travelling, and was passionate about helping people. She always wanted to make the world a better place—her humanitarian work in Beirut was testament to that."

Hugo Shorter, British ambassador to Lebanon, said: "The whole embassy is deeply shocked and saddened. Our thoughts are with Becky's family, friends and colleagues for their loss."

Lebanese officials stressed that the murder was not politically motivated.

Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Nohad Mashnouq, praised security forces for their "exceptional" efforts to arrest the suspect, NAN said.