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Lebanon murder inquiry arrest after the death of UK diplomat Rebecca Dykes

The Foreign Office said it was in contact with the Lebanese authorities and confirmed an arrest had been made

Police in Lebanon have arrested a man in connection with the murder of a British diplomat in Beirut.

The body of Rebecca Dykes, who worked at the British Embassy in the city, was found by a motorway on Saturday.

Police sources said the suspect worked as a taxi driver and Ms Dykes had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

Her family said in a statement: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. We are doing all we can to understand what happened.”

They added: “We request that the media respect our privacy.”

Ms Dykes, who is believed to have been 30, had been working in Beirut as the programme and policy manager for the Department for International Development since January 2017.

It is thought she had spent Friday evening at a going-away party for a colleague in the popular Gemmayzeh district of Beirut, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent Martin Patience said.

After leaving the bar at about midnight it appears she was abducted. Her body was found close to a motorway on the outskirts of the city.

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The Foreign Office said it was in contact with the Lebanese authorities and confirmed an arrest had been made.

The suspect was arrested in the early hours of Monday morning after police reportedly traced his car on traffic management CCTV.

An official told the Reuters and AFP news agencies the preliminary investigation had showed Ms Dykes’s killing “was not politically motivated”.

Safe city

Josie Ensor, the Daily Telegraph’s correspondent in Beirut, says the case has left foreign residents in the city unsettled.

Speaking to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she said: “Everyone is incredibly shocked. I know Beirut historically has been known for its brutal civil war… but Beirut is a very safe city.

“It’s a village city, a very tight-knit community, so when something happens to one person, it feels quite close.”

Ms Ensor, who was due to attend the same party on Friday evening, added Ms Dykes “had just landed on her feet in Beirut and was starting to make friends and getting to know the city”.

Local police say a second post-mortem examination is to be carried out later.

Hugo Shorter, the British Ambassador to Lebanon, tweeted that the whole embassy was “deeply shocked” and “saddened” by the news.

A DfID spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with Becky’s family and friends at this very upsetting time.

“There is now a police investigation and the Foreign Office is providing consular support to Becky’s family and working with the local authorities‎.”

Who was Rebecca Dykes?

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Prior to her posting in Beirut, Ms Dykes worked with the Foreign Office as a policy manager for its Libya team and as an Iraq research analyst.

According to her LinkedIn profile, she studied anthropology at the University of Manchester, and had a Masters in International Security and Global Governance from Birkbeck, University of London.

She was a former pupil of Malvern Girls’ College and Rugby School, and had also taught English at a Chinese international school.

Ms Dykes had reportedly been due to fly back to the UK for Christmas. She says on social media that she is from London.

Source: bbc.com