Uber driver sentenced to death
A Lebanese Uber driver who confessed to killing a 30-year-old British diplomat in Beirut who was found raped and strangled on the side of a road has been sentenced to death for her murder.
According to the New York Post, Tariq Houshieh, who was driving Rebecca Dykes home after her night out in the Lebanese capital in December 2017, instead raped her and choked her to death with a rope before dumping her along the Metn highway.
Ms Dykes, a program and policy manager at the British embassy, spent the evening at a going-away party for a colleague in the city's Gemmayzeh neighbourhood, according to Sky News.
She hailed Houshieh's car using the ride-sharing app at around midnight and her body was discovered at about 4am.
The driver, who had tried to cover his tracks by disposing of Ms Dykes' purse and identity papers, was collared a few days later after police tracked his car using surveillance cameras and traced activity on his phone. He later confessed to the "senseless" crime.
Houshieh had been working for Uber despite reports that he had a criminal record.
Local newspaper An-Nahar reported that Houshieh had spent six months behind bars for stealing a motorcycle, and Agence France-Presse reported that he had twice been arrested for alleged harassment and theft related to customers.
At the time, Uber denied those claims and said it was "horrified" by the shocking murder. Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk has described the company as a "virtual" entity that is "not safe."
Capital punishment is legal in Lebanon although no executions have been carried out in 15 years during an unofficial moratorium.
After the murder, the young woman's family launched the Rebecca Dykes Foundation to improve the lives of refugees and vulnerable communities in Lebanon.
They said she was "simply irreplaceable" and "wanted to make the world a better place."
Before her work for the UK's embassy, Ms Dykes studied anthropology at the University of Manchester and completed a master's program in international security and global governance at the University of London.
Friends said she was expected to fly back to the UK for Christmas on the day her body was found.
This story first appeared in the New York Post and is republished with permission.