Lebanese man sentenced to death for rape, murder of UK diplomat

Court sentences 41-year-old Uber driver to death after British diplomat found strangled to death in Beirut after being sexually assaulted.

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David Rosenberg, | updated: 23:03

Gavel (illustration)
Gavel (illustration)

A Lebanese court sentenced a 41-year-old Uber driver to death on Thursday for the murder of a 30-year-old British diplomat, local media reported.

On December 16th, Rebecca Dykes, an employee of the British Embassy in Beirut, was found dead near a highway on the outskirts of the Lebanese capital.

Dykes had spent the previous night with friends in the Gemmayze district of Beirut, an area known for its popular restaurants and bars.

Police said Dykes’ body had signs of violence suggesting she was murdered, as well as raped.

Using closed circuit TV footage and records from the Uber ride-sharing company, local police were able to identify the murderer.

The suspect, 41-year-old Tarek Hawchieh (Hesso) confessed days later that he had murdered Dykes after he sexually assaulted her, telling police that he “decided to rape her as it would be easy as she was a foreigner,” a source told The Daily Mail.

"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,” a Lebanese law enforcement official told AFP. “He pulled over in a quiet place," where he raped Dykes, then strangled her and dumped her body near the roadside.