British embassy employee, 30, raped and murdered by Uber driver

Rebecca Dykes was strangled by taxi driver Tariq Houshieh

Rebecca Dykes was strangled by taxi driver Tariq Houshieh (Image: PA/Getty)

A devastated mother is telling women to wear personal alarms after her daughter was raped and choked to death by an Uber driver while she was working abroad.

Jane Houng spoke after 30-year-old Rebecca Dykes was strangled to death with the cords of his hoodie by Tariq Houshieh.

The British embassy worker tried to get home to the Lebanon capital in December 2017 after a “girls’ night out” at a popular tourist bar.

Her body was later found dumped on a roadside. Houshieh, 34, was sentenced to death in 2019 but is appealing for his commutation.

Speaking emotionally via video link at a much-delayed inquest into the horror today, Jane said: “I just hope no parent has to go through what we’ve had to go through.

“One thing that pained me a lot was that embassy staff are now wearing personal alarm devices.

“I think if Rebecca was wearing a personal alarm at the time it probably would have saved her life.

Murder victim Rebecca Dykes on her travels

The much loved Rebecca on her travels (Image: PA)

“When I went to Lebanon shortly after her death and sat around the table with Rebecca’s friends and colleagues, they all said they use Uber. It was a common place for personal travel.’

Rebecca had worked for the Department of International Development, helping Lebanon deal with refugees fleeing the war in Syria.

It was revealed that Houshieh was working as a taxi driver, despite having a criminal record and being arrested twice for alleged molestation and theft.

At Inner South London Magistrates’ Court in Southwark, senior coroner Andrew Harrison questioned British Embassy in Beirut’s Postal Security Officer Alyson King about the protections in place for staff.

Ms King insisted staff have a safety briefing on arrival, wear personal alarms, hold monthly safety meetings, regular workshops and women-only sessions.

(FILES) A file photo taken on December 23, 2017 shows a portrait of British Embassy employee Rebecca Dykes during a candlelight vigil to raise awareness of violence against women outside Beirut's National Museum. - A Lebanese court on Friday sentenced a taxi driver to death for the 2017 murder of British embassy worker Rebecca Dykes, the national news agency reported. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)

A candlelit vigil left in December 2017 following her murder of Rebecca (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

In 2017, workers were advised to only use three approved taxi companies, named in a safety briefing, for private journeys.

But Ms King admitted: “It later transpired that many employees used other taxi companies when they thought they were cheap.”

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office security chief Bharat Joshi said a special security visit after Rebecca’s death found the “security culture was very, very strong”.

Joshi also claimed that many employees “don’t follow that advice.”

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Justin Scacco

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