POLICE investigating the murder of a well-known British radio host in Lebanon are hunting a suspect who stole his car and wallet.
Gavin Ford was reportedly found strangled with his hands tied behind his back in his apartment on Tuesday, the day after he celebrated his birthday.
Emotional tributes were paid to the 53-year-old whose “Gavin Ford in the morning” show was one of the most popular in Lebanon.
He is the second Brit to be murdered in the country this year after diplomat Rebecca Dykes, 30, was killed in January.
Mr Ford’s car has now been found on the outskirts of Beirut, a security source told the the local Daily Star newspaper.
It was stolen along with his wallet,Â An-Nahar reported, Â adding that Mr Ford seen walking his dog in the Broumana area over the weekend.
After failing to show up to work on Tuesday, his concerned colleagues at the Radio One station contacted the Internal Security Force, the countryâs police force, who then entered his home in Beit Mery, east of Beirut.
Local media LBC TV said Ford was strangled and struck on the head, leading to his death.
According to AP, another official confirmed Ford was strangled, and said security agents are questioning his neighbours for details about who visited him in recent days.
The initial investigation into the radio host’s death noted that his hands were bound behind his back and had been strangled using a piece of cloth.
Mr Ford’s death led to an outpouring of shock and sadness on social media by people who followed his show on the all-music Radio One station.
Ford arrived in Lebanon in 1995 and soon gained a large number of fans.
He celebrated his birthday on Monday, according to his Facebook page which was filled with posts of people grieving his death.
Friend Gino Raidy payed tribute to Mr Ford on his blog.
âLike the rest of Lebanon, Iâve been a fan of Gavin since back when we used to listen to him on the ride to school in the late 90s,” he wrote.
âHe was how thousands upon thousands of us made our morning commutes from hell just a bit more bearable.
âI was lucky enough to meet him at an event, and then many, many events after that.
“I realized that he was even kinder, funnier and more humble in real life than he was on air.
“Gavin was a sweetheart. He was always very kind, conversations with him were never shallow and heÂ alwaysÂ had a smile on and could lift the mood of a country always down.
âHe has stuck with Lebanon in all the rough patches weâve had over the past two decades.â
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Radio One posted on its Facebook page which read: “We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our dear Gavin Ford, a member of our team for many joyful years.”
Britain’s Ambassador to Lebanon, Chris Rampling, tweeted: “I am shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Gavin Ford, one of Lebanon’s most popular morning breakfast hosts.”
“The thoughts of all at the Embassy are with his family, friends and colleagues at this terribly difficult time,” Rampling said.
An inquest into the death of Ms DykesÂ Southwark Coroner’s Court heard an Uber driver in Lebanon has admitted her murder.
She dad been working at the British embassy as the programme and policy manager for the Department for International Development in Beirut since January 2017.
She had been at a colleague’s leaving party at a bar in the Gemmayzeh district, before leaving in a taxi.
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