Uber has been blacklisted by means of the Overseas Place of work in Lebanon after a taxi driving force raped and murdered a British diplomat, an inquest was once advised.
Rebecca Dykes was once killed whilst making her means house from an evening out having beverages with pals within the Gemmayzeh district of Beirut, Lebanon.
Tariq Houshieh, who was once running for Uber, raped the 30-year-old earlier than strangling her with a twine from his hooded jumper and dumping her frame by means of the facet of the street.
Ms Dykes had booked the trip the usage of the Uber app, whose driving force identity and ranking gadget was once observed by means of many, particularly ladies, as providing higher protection promises than when hailing a cab off the road.
Houshieh later confessed to the “mindless” assault, which came about in Dec 2017, and was once passed a loss of life sentence in 2019.
He’s now interesting to have the sentence commuted, My London reported.
Motive force had felony document
Houshieh was once allegedly ready to paintings as a taxi driving force in spite of having a felony document and two times being arrested for alleged harassment and robbery.
An inquest into Omit Dykes loss of life at Southwark Coroner’s Court docket, South London, heard proof from embassy safety officer Alyson King concerning the preparations that have been in position.
She advised the courtroom that during 2017 personnel have been recommended to just use 3 vetted taxi corporations for private go back and forth.
On the other hand, Omit King mentioned that some embassy employees would use other corporations.
She mentioned: “It got here to mild afterwards that many personnel have been the usage of different taxi corporations once they discovered them handy.”
Bharat Joshi, head of safety for the Overseas, Commonwealth and Building Place of work, mentioned a evaluate after Ms Dykes’ loss of life had discovered a “very, very robust” safety tradition.
Regardless of that declare, he added that many personnel running on the embassy selected to not apply recommendation recommending they use vetted taxi companies, with many going to Uber as a result of their “familiarity” with the logo and the possible wait instances for the vetted corporations.
He added that there had “by no means been a major incident” earlier than this involving Uber in Lebanon.
Following the homicide the federal government of Lebanon steered folks to keep away from the usage of the corporate, with one minister branding it unsafe.
Ms Dykes’ sister requested witnesses on the inquest if steering had now been modified to actively urge personnel to keep away from the usage of Uber.
She was once advised it had up to date its recommendation.
Serving to refugees
Ms Dykes were running for the Division for World Building on the time of her loss of life and was once in Lebanon serving to refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria.
Jane Houng, Ms Dykes’ mom, mentioned: “I simply hope that no mother or father has to head thru what we’ve got needed to undergo.”
She persisted: “Once I went to Lebanon in a while after her loss of life and sat across the desk with Rebecca’s pals and associates all of them mentioned they used Uber. It was once common for private go back and forth that individuals used Uber taxis.”
Ms Houng added that it was once “painful” to listen to embassy personnel now needed to put on non-public alarms as “if Rebecca were dressed in one it might have stored her lifestyles”.
Andrew Harrison, the senior coroner, recorded a conclusion of illegal killing.He added that “nice steps” were taken to reinforce safety of personnel running on the embassy within the years since Ms Dykes’ loss of life.
An Uber spokesman mentioned: “Everybody at Uber was once devastated by means of this tragic incident, and we labored carefully with the government to assist with the investigation.
“All drivers who use the Uber platform in Lebanon will have to have industrial licenses, which can be predicated on passing a central authority background take a look at.
“Uber additionally runs background exams as a part of the onboarding procedure for brand spanking new drivers within the nation. Since 2018, we’ve got asked supplementary background exams for present drivers carried out by means of the Inside Safety Forces, which can be performed two times a yr.”