Nearly two years ago, 30-year-old British Embassy worker Rebecca Dykes was raped and ruthlessly strangled. The perpetrator of the heinous crime was her Uber driver for the night, Tarek Houshieh. Houshieh has since been arrested and has now been sentenced to death by a Lebanese court.
In Lebanon, murders are often sentenced to death. However, since 2004, no prisoner has been executed in the country. There is an unofficial ban on the execution of criminals. In the case of Dykes, the crime committed moved the court to sentence Houshieh to death.
On December 16, 2017, Dykes had gone drinking with her colleagues in the Gemmayzeh area of Beirut. Around midnight, Dykes booked an Uber ride back to her residence. Dykes was unaware that the man she was trusting to take her safely home was a convicted criminal.
Houshieh had been convicted on multiple occasions for crimes ranging from motorcycle theft to harassment and theft from passengers. Even though the driver had been reported by Uber customers for his misconduct, the company did not terminate him.
Dykes' body was found a day after the murder. Housheih had raped her and then strangled her to death with a rope. Then, he dumped her body off the Metn Highway. In an attempt to cover his tracks, Housheih disposed of Dykes' identification documents and purse. However, with the help of CCTV footage and the Uber database, the Lebanese police were able to track down the murderer.
Housheih subsequently confessed to the murder of the British Embassy employee. He said that he raped her because she was a "foreigner wearing a short skirt."
Uber claimed that it was unaware of Housheih's criminal records and activities. The Lebanese interior minister at the time, Nohad Machnouk, blamed the company for putting its passengers at risk. Machnouk called the service unsafe and urged people to hail regular cabs instead.
Dykes' family back in the United Kingdom remembers her as "simply irreplaceable." Sky News shared the information that Dykes wanted to work with the British Embassy to aid the refugees and vulnerable communities in Lebanon.
The kind-hearted Brit lost her life days before she was set to return home for Christmas.