Police investigating death of British embassy worker in Beirut

Body of Rebecca Dykes found on side of motorway in Lebanese capital on Saturday

 Rebecca Dykes, who was murdered in Beirut, Lebanon.  Photograph: PA Wire

Rebecca Dykes, who was murdered in Beirut, Lebanon. Photograph: PA Wire

 

A British diplomat who worked at the UK embassy in Beirut has been found dead. The body of Rebecca Dykes was reportedly found on the side of a motorway in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The circumstances surrounding her death were unclear, but local police officials suggested she had been strangled. Her body was found without any identity papers on the Metn highway, which leads out of Beirut to the north-east suburbs. A forensic examination suggested she had died at around 4am on Saturday.

A Lebanese judicial source told the Guardian that Dykes had spent the evening in the company of friends at a cafe in Gemmayze, a district of Beirut known for its cafes, bars and restaurants. She is thought to have left on her own at around midnight. Police circulated a description on Saturday, hoping to identify her.

The British ambassador to Lebanon, Hugo Shorter, tweeted: “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 police investigation.” A family spokesman said: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. We are doing all we can to understand what happened. We request that the media respect our privacy as we come together as a family at this very difficult time.”

Dykes worked as a programme and policy manager with the Department for International Development (DfID) and as a policy manager with the Libya team at the Foreign Office, according to her LinkedIn page. She had previously worked as an Iraq research analyst with the Foreign Office. She had a degree from Manchester University and a masters in international security and global governance from Birkbeck, University of London.

A Foreign Office spokesman 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.”

The information branch of Lebanon’s internal security forces, the intelligence department of the police, is conducting the investigation. A DfID spokesman said: “There is now a police investigation and the FCO is providing consular support to Becky’s family and working with the local authorities.” - Guardian