Rebecca Dykes: Foreign Office staff told to avoid Uber after diplomat raped and murdered by driver

·2-min read

Staff at the Foreign Office have been told to avoid using Uber after a diplomat in Lebanon was murdered by a driver for the ride-hailing service.

The body of Rebecca Dykes, 30, was found dumped by the side of a Beirut highway on 16 December 2017. She had been raped and strangled with a rope, with choke marks found on her neck.

She had been heading home from a night out with friends and had used the app to hail a car.

Driver Tarek Houshieh confessed to the "senseless attack" and was sentenced to death in 2017. He has since appealed to have his sentence commuted.

A much-delayed inquest into Ms Dykes's death took place at Southwark coroners court this week, hearing evidence from Alyson King, a security officer at the British embassy in Beirut.

Ms King said in 2017 staff were advised to only use three vetted taxi companies for personal travel, according to The Times.

Ms Dykes's sister asked witnesses at the inquest if guidance had changed to actively urge staff against using Uber. She was told such advice was now given.

At the time, Uber said it was "horrified" but denied reports Houshieh had been reported twice to the app for harassment and theft related to customers.

After the murder, Lebanese interior minister Nohad Machnouk called Uber a "virtual" entity that is "not safe".

Lebanese people were warned to stop using the app and instead flag down traditional taxis.

Following the murder of Ms Dykes, her family launched the Rebecca Dykes Foundation.

Read more:
Who was UK diplomat Rebecca Dykes?

They said she was "simply irreplaceable" and "wanted to make the world a better place" - and set up the foundation to improve the lives of refugees and vulnerable communities in Lebanon.