Rebecca Dykes was a 30-year-old British embassy worker who was brutally killed by an Uber driver during a "girls' night out" in Beirut.
Rebecca took a taxi to get to Lebanon. The driver, Tariq Houshieh, raped, strangled her, and threw away her body at the roadside.
The murder happened in December 2017, and Houshiehwas sentenced to death in 2019. This ruling can still be overturned.
A cord from his hoodie was identified as a murder weapon. The judge described the case as a "premeditated and deliberate act."
Dykes was from London and worked for the Department for International Development in helping Lebanon to cope with refugees from the war in Syria.
The woman's body was found on n December 16, 2017. She was scheduled to return to London for the Christmas holidays.
Tariq had a criminal record and was arrested for alleged harassment and theft.
The family of the murdered woman stated they will "never fully recover" from the tragedy, adding that Rebecca "improved the lives of countless refugees and vulnerable host communities."
An inquest into the case finally started this week. Senior coroner Andrew Harrison quizzed security staff at the British embassy in Beirut regarding the employee's safety. Security officer Alyson King learned that they were advised to use only three companies for their personal travels. However, she said:
"It came to light afterward, many staff were using other taxi companies when they found them convenient."
Bharat Joshi, head of security for the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, said that many staff members used Uber due to its "familiarity."
He also stated that there had "never been a serious incident" before this involving Uber in Lebanon.
Rebecca's sister asked whether the staff was notified not to use Uber following the young woman's death.
Her mother, Jane Houng, expressed that she wishes "no parent has to go through what we have."
The grieving mom said:
"One thing that pained me very much was that now embassy staff wear personal alarms. I think if Rebecca had been wearing a personal alarm at that point in time, it probably would have saved her life."
'When I went to Lebanon shortly after her death and sat around the table with Rebecca's friends and colleagues, they all said they used Uber. It was commonplace for personal travel that people used Uber taxis."
Uber said it was "horrified by this senseless act of violence."
Joshi claimed that the "security culture was very, very strong." However, coroner Harrison then asked:
"If the security culture was so strong, why were so many staff using unregistered taxi services?"
Joshi replied that many "choose not to follow that advice."
Making his conclusion of unlawful killing, coroner Harrison summed up the "deeply tragic" hearing and said there were "gaps in understanding" of the security at the time.
He stated that "great steps were taken" in the previous five years, and it was "a matter of security" as "nothing in life is risk-free."
"The risks are known, and the steps have been taken."