- Rebecca Dykes, 30, was found strangled to death in a dumpster outside Beirut
- Uber driver Tarek Hesso, 35, was arrested at 3am in the Lebanese capital today
- Suspect is said to have admitted carrying out the attack, according to local news
Published: 02:04 EST, 18 December 2017 | Updated: 18:05 EST, 18 December 2017
Rebecca Dykes (pictured) was abducted after leaving a party in Beirut
The heartbroken family of a British diplomat who was allegedly raped before she was murdered in Beirut today said she was 'irreplaceable' and they will 'never recover'.
Rebecca Dykes, 30, was abducted after leaving a party in the Lebanese capital on Friday night.
Her body was reportedly found in a dumpster by the roadside and officials are investigating whether she was sexually assaulted before the attack.
A 35-year-old Uber driver, identified as Tarek Hesso, was arrested in a 3am raid on Monday. He has previously served several prison sentences.
Ms Dykes' family today said she was 'simply irreplaceable and we will never fully recover from this loss', in a statement released by the Foreign Office.
According to Lebanon's NNA agency, Hesso admitted picking the diplomat up in his taxi, attempting to rape her and then strangling her before ditching her body.
The body of the former public schoolgirl was found by a motorway on Saturday evening several miles from the nightspot where she was last seen alive.
Investigators told MailOnline Hesso is 35 but a second senior security official in Lebanon said the suspect was aged 41 and had been arrested on drug-related charges in the period 2015-17.
A police official said today that the suspect was traced through security cameras that showed his car driving from Beirut to the area where Dykes' body was found, just north of the Lebanese capital.
'He was detained at his apartment,' the official said, adding that the suspect is a Lebanese citizen.
Lebanon's state-run National News Agency said the suspect is a taxi driver who picked up the woman from Beirut's Gemayze neighborhood, known for its restaurants and pubs, then drove to a nearby neighborhood where she lived but did not drop her off there.
Instead, the suspect drove the car to the site where Dykes' body was later found. NNA said the man tried to sexually assault her, then strangled her with a rope. The police have not confirmed those details.
This chilling image was drawn by a local artist to try and help identify her and she was recognised after the sketch
Rebecca Dykes, a UK diplomat who worked at the British embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, has been found dead
Police are investigating whether Ms Dykes (pictured), 30, was sexually assaulted before her body was found
Rebecca Dykes was said to have been at a leaving party at the Demo nightclub (pictured) in Beirut before she went missing
The driver then 'tried to rape her and when she resisted he strangled her… took her wallet and threw her in a dumpster,' an official said.
The murder has shaken Lebanon, where such crimes, particularly against foreigners, are relatively uncommon.
Earlier, a forensics official told The Associated Press that the woman was strangled with a rope.
Ms Dykes (pictured) started working for the government in 2010 and started working as a programme and policy manager in Lebanon since January
Lebanese police have launched an investigation following the discovery on Saturday evening.
One security source said the diplomat was found with 'a piece of string around her neck'.
Miss Dykes worked for the Department for International Development as a programme and policy manager and moved to Beirut in January.
In a statement, her family said last night: 'We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. We are doing all we can to understand what happened.'
The diplomat, who was understood to be planning to fly home for Christmas on Saturday, had been at a leaving party for a British embassy colleague at a bar in the Gemmayzeh area of central Beirut.
She left alone just after midnight and is thought to have been abducted minutes later.
Police sources gave the cause of death as strangulation following a post-mortem examination, but added that another test is to be carried out.
Ms Dyke is believed to have gone missing in the Gemmayzeh district at about midnight after a night out on Friday. Her body was found on Saturday evening
Such crime is rare in the Lebanese capital, a city which is considered generally safe, including for tourists and foreign residents.
One official involved in the investigation said: 'Our first impression is that it's not politically motivated.'
He said her body was found 'on the side of the Emile Lahoud road', east of central Beirut.
One friend said: 'It's horrific. We had no idea what happened to her until we got a call today to go to the police station to give statements.'
Hugo Shorter, the British ambassador to Lebanon, said: 'The whole embassy is deeply shocked, saddened by this news. My thoughts are with Becky's family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss.
'We're providing consular support to her family and working very closely with Lebanese authorities who are conducting a police investigation.'
Miss Dykes was a boarder at Malvern St James girls' school in Worcestershire and then spent two years at Rugby School, one of the oldest independent schools in Britain.
She graduated in social anthropology at Manchester University in 2008.
Miss Dykes then completed a master's degree in international security and global governance at Birkbeck, University of London.
She joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2010 and worked in Iraq as a research analyst before working in Libya as a policy manager.
On her LinkedIn page she described herself as 'skilled in conflict, international relations, civil society and humanitarian assistance'.
Her body was found on Saturday close to the Metn expressway (pictured) in Lebanon's capital
Miss Dykes spent four years in Hong Kong, teaching English to teenagers. She also worked as a human rights monitor, translating documents from Chinese to English.
Since her death, friends and colleagues spoke of their shock at her murder.
Bilal Al Ayoubi wrote on Twitter: 'What a great loss. The ugly face of life is when someone dedicates her life to working for peace and stability in the world gets murdered in such brutality…very sad.
'She was such a sweet and kind lady who took her job seriously and cared about Lebanon's stability.'
One friend, Brooke Anderson, wrote on Facebook: 'Simply in shock. We will miss you, Becky.'
The incident is the latest to highlight the issue of safety at Uber, which was stripped of its operating licence in London in September over concerns about its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.
A spokesman for Uber said in an email: 'We are horrified by this senseless act of violence. Our hearts are with the victim and her family. We are working with authorities to assist their investigation in any way we can.'
London police complained in April that Uber was either not disclosing, or taking too long to report, serious crimes including sexual assaults and this put the public at risk. The firm's boss has promised to make things right in the British capital.
And globally, the app has suffered a series of scandals in 2017 as a stream of executives left amid controversies involving allegations of sexual harassment and issues surrounding data privacy and business practices.
Ms Dykes was working in Beirut (pictured) and her body has been found close to the busy road
The company, valued at around $70 billion with investors including Goldman Sachs, has faced bans and protests in countries around the world as it disrupts traditional players who have accused it of cutting corners on safety.
The Foreign Office advises against all travel to several areas in Lebanon, including southern suburbs of Beirut, and all but essential travel to most other areas of the country.
Terror attacks are deemed 'very likely' in the country, and protests in Beirut are common following the US announcement on the status of Jerusalem.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: 'Following the death of a British woman in Beirut, we are providing support to the family. We remain in close contact with local authorities. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.'
Under Lebanon's CSSF programme, the UK government has spent millions of pounds supporting the country's armed forces to address 'security threats originating from Syria'.
Cash has also been spent on preventing 'illegal cross border activity' between Lebanon and Syria – an area where jihadists have been active – and assisting local policing.
Last night some expressed concerns that the attack on Miss Dyke might be hushed up by Lebanese authorities.
Rami Cherri wrote on Twitter: 'The lack of coverage on the rape and murder on any Lebanese news channel is disgusting to say the least. In order to have a safer society in this country our mind-set has to change for the better.
'We need to address the rise of rape and murders in Lebanon now. This is inexcusable and inhumane.'
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