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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Gavin Ford: Two men admit murder of radio host in Lebanon

The brutal killing of the famed British journalist shocked the country

Ford had become a fixture for many Lebanese who grew up listening to his voice as they went to school or university. AFP
Ford had become a fixture for many Lebanese who grew up listening to his voice as they went to school or university. AFP

Two Syrian nationals have been arrested and admitted killing British radio host Gavin Ford in his house near the Lebanese capital Beirut, the Lebanese Security Forces said on Thursday.

Ford’s tied-up body was discovered on Tuesday in Broumana, a quiet town in the hills above Beirut, sending shockwaves throughout Lebanon where the 53-year-old had worked for the past two decades as a popular radio host, lending his voice to Radio One’s “Gavin Ford in the Morning” show, a commuter favourite.

The first suspect, whom the security forces refer to as A.A., was arrested on Wednesday in Nabaa, a suburb East of Beirut where he resides.

The man confessed that he killed Ford with another Syrian national, referred to by his initials H.B., but said he was not aware of his whereabouts, according to the Lebanese Security Forces statement.

Five hours later, the second suspect was identified and arrested in Jnah, a suburb South of Beirut. He also confessed to the murder. The men are 27 and 23 years old respectively.

According to the statement, the men said that they came to Ford’s home on Monday “in order to steal”. They strangled him and hit him with a sharp object until he lost consciousness before driving away in his car. They then hid some of the stolen goods in Nabaa, where they both lived.

Ford’s phone, car keys and identification papers were found in their apartment. The car had been previously discovered on Monday parked near a popular flea market called Souk al Ahad.

The Security Forces stressed that the killers are not the two men who appear in a video circulated by Lebanese media in which Ford appears to film himself relaxing in a living room.

Ford was a popular figure in Lebanon, where he had worked as a radio host for the past 20 years. He had lent his voice to Radio One’s “Gavin Ford in the Morning” show, a commuter favorite. He had previously worked in Cyprus and studied at the National Broadcasting School.

A few hours after his death was made public, a graphic picture of Ford’s dead body, as well as a supposed police report, circulated on social media.

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Friends and colleagues pay tribute to radio star Gavin Ford after his murder in Lebanon

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On Wednesday, the State prosecutor ordered military prosecutor Peter Germanos to investigate the leaks and take “strict measures against the perpetrators”, the Lebanese national news agency reported.

The photo shocked some of Ford’s fans.

“RIP #GavinFord and whomever took the photo from the scene of him should be investigated immediately and fired!!! This is beyond atrocious and circulating it should be a crime”, wrote fashion blogger Dana Khairallah who goes by the name Ivy.

Several of Ford’s friends that The National spoke to refused to comment the picture, focusing instead on his achievements in life.

“Perhaps you expect me to talk about (…) disrespectful posts and comments after news broke out of his murder. I will not. I will remember the Gavin I knew”, wrote blogger Gino Raidy in a tribute to Ford published Wednesday. “Thank you for all the laughs over the years. Thank you for brightening up Lebanon’s politics and religion infested airwaves with your wit and love.”