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Orleans County native was within walking distance of London terror attack

Stephanie Finney

An Orleans County native now living in Great Britain said she was just over two miles away from the terrorist attack in London Saturday that ended in the deaths of seven people.

Stephanie Finney, 41, who grew up in Albion, has been living in London for nine years. She and her boyfriend were at a comedy club in Piccadilly Circus Saturday night when she got an alert on her phone about the nearby attacks.

Police say three men drove a van through a group of pedestrians on the busy London Bridge and then stabbed people in several nearby restaurants. In addition to the seven confirmed deaths, at least 48 victims were hospitalized. Twenty-one of them are in critical condition, according to the Associated Press. Still others had minor injuries. 

Despite this latest attack - the third in the past two months in Great Britain - Finney said she will not give into fear and does feel fairly safe.

"I had moments before I went on that night when I was thinking 'Gosh, things are going on right now and I'm going out to a really public area.' Saturday night was a beautiful evening, really warm, and I knew that would be a prime target time, but I made a decision that I wanted to go out and to not that affect my living my life."

Finney, who works at the London School of Economics, said she was "personally appalled" by British Prime Minister Teresa May's statement that Britain is too tolerant of extremism. Finney said that is fear mongering that will only further alienate certain groups.

"I'm surrounded by people from all over the world. I lived next door to a mosque in my previous home and I thought it was just a great community with all sorts of families coming and going. I have never felt uncomfortable about who I am or who others are living here."

Finney said she will likely apply for British citizenship because she is concerned that hasty rules changes may be made after this week's election that could affect her immigration status.