Lavenham butcher at 7/7 2005 London bombing was trapped at Parliament during 2017 Westminster terror attack
PUBLISHED: 12:52 23 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:52 23 March 2017
Sheltering in the Houses of Parliament, a Suffolk butcher has revealed how for the second time he found himself stuck in London as terrorists struck the capital city.
Greg Strolenberg, of Lavenham Butchers, was visiting the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday, March 22, with his wife Jenny along with his business partner Gareth Doherty, his wife Nicola, and head butcher Andy Gleed.
They had just finished picking up their Countryside Alliance food ‘Oscar’ at a ceremony in the House of Lords when they were invited on an unplanned tour of the House of Commons with Suffolk councillor Harriet Steer.
They were heading to the steps of Westminster Palace for a photo when the terrorist attacked. They rushed to the safety of the Houses of Commons as people ran screaming past them.
Mr Strolenberg, speaking today (March 23), told how he is now coming to terms with how close they were to the “horrific” attack.
He revealed that had they not gone on the tour, they would have been walking down Westminster Bridge as the lone attacker mounted the pavement and ran down dozens of people.
“You have to try and carry on as normal,” said Mr Strolenberg. “People were screaming and one of my first thoughts was it was kids playing a stupid YouTube prank. Then I think it was the police told us to get inside and you realise it is real.
“I was thinking of Paris – we heard the two gunshots but you don’t know who is shooting who, if they are still out there with a gun.”
The events of yesterday are the second time Mr Strolenberg has been surrounded by devastating scenes of terrorism on the streets of London. He was moments away from the 7/7 terror attack on London in 2005, which killed 52 people and injured 700.
“I was working as a driver picking up from Smithfield Meat Market when it happened the last time,” he said. “I was right there near Kings Cross.”
The butcher, who also runs Elmswell Butchers, said he will not take his children to London and said Londoners must be “very scared” today.
“We were just there for one day and it ended up being when this horrific attack happened,” he said. “I am glad I don’t have the round in London any more.”
Mr Strolenberg was keen to praise the police, with PC Keith Palmer stabbed and killed as he tried to protect the public.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the police,” he said. “You see them in their hi-vis jackets and don’t think much of it, but they are prepared to put themselves at risk to help us.”