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Half a million sign Turing petition demanding thousands of pardons

The family of Bletchley Park codebreaker Alan Turing visited Downing Street today to demand pardons for 49 thousand men who were persecuted for being gay.

Turing killed himself just two years after being convicted for homosexuality. He received a royal pardon in 2013.

A petition has been signed by half a million people including Benedict Cumberbatch who played the mathematician in the Imitation Game.

Click below to see Bob Constantine's report.

Turing family hand in petition at Downing Street

The Turing family at Downing Street Credit: ITV News

The family of Bletchley Park codebreaker Alan Turing - who was played on the big screen by Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game - have been at Downing Street today to demand the Government pardons 49,000 other men persecuted for their homosexuality.

Turing, whose work cracking the German military codes was vital to the British war effort against Nazi Germany, was convicted in 1952 for gross indecency with a 19-year-old man. He was chemically castrated, and two years later died from cyanide poisoning in an apparent suicide.

He was given a posthumous royal pardon in 2013 and campaigners want the Government to pardon all the men convicted under the same outdated law.

Turing's great-nephew, Nevil Hunt, his great-niece, Rachel Barnes, and her son, Thomas, have handed over the petition, which was signed by almost half-a-million people.


Artwork to celebrate Alan Turing

A statue of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park, where he broke the enigma code Credit: ITV

A work of art is being unveiled today to celebrate the sexuality of second world war codebreaker Alan Turing. He was convicted for being gay in 1952 and it took until 2013 for him to be pardoned for his supposed crime.

The art will be displayed outside a bar in Milton Keynes close to where Turing completed his work at Bletchley Park.


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Turing's 'distress' letter sent to friends before conviction

A letter sent from Alan Turing to his mathematician friend Norman Routledge shows the codebreaker's worries and "distress" ahead of pleading guilty to gross indecency in 1952.

An excerpt from the communication is printed on the website Letters of Note, citing a Turing biography by Andrew Hodges.

I've now got myself into the kind of trouble that I have always considered to be quite a possibility for me, though I have usually rated it at about 10:1 against.

I shall shortly be pleading guilty to a charge of sexual offences with a young man.

The story of how it all came to be found out is a long and fascinating one, which I shall have to make into a short story one day, but haven't the time to tell you now.

No doubt I shall emerge from it all a different man, but quite who I've not found out.

Glad you enjoyed broadcast. Jefferson certainly was rather disappointing though.

I'm afraid that the following syllogism may be used by some in the future.

Turing believes machines thinkTuring lies with menTherefore machines do not think

Yours in distress,


– Letter from Alan Turing to Norman Routledge
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'Old police trick' revealed Turing's gay relationship

A statue of Alan Turing on a bench in Sackville Gardens, Manchester. Credit: Flickr / Bernt Rostad under Creative Commons agreement

Alan Turing revealed he was gay to the authorities by falling for an "old police trick," New Statesman legal writer David Allen Green reports.

Reporting a theft to police in 1952, Turing was forced to fabricate details of the account to conceal his relationship with a man.

Asked to repeat the account a week later by police, Turing was unable to accurately remember some of those fabricated details, Allen Green writes.

On realising his lies had been exposed, the brilliant mathematician produced a five-page letter admitting untruths as well as describing graphic details of his homosexual relationship.

The statement was enough for police to convict Turing and arrest his partner.

Bletchley codebreaker's royal pardon for 61-year conviction

Alan Turing worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War Credit: ITV News Anglia

Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing, has been given a posthumous royal pardon for a 61-year-old conviction for homosexual activity - still an offence in the UK in the 1950s.

The Cambridge mathematician has been hailed a national hero for his work to help break the German Enigma Code at Bletchley, near Milton Keynes during the war.

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Turing Royal Pardon 'just reward' for code-breaker

News of the royal pardon granted posthumously to Alan Turing has been applauded as a "just reward" for the code-breaker.

Iain Stewart, Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South, who was involved in the campaign to secure a royal pardon, said: "Alan Turing was an incredibly important figure in our history. He was the father of computer science and the originator of the dominant technology of the late 20th century."

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said that the granting of the royal pardon was "long overdue" and called for the same treatment to be given to others convicted in similar circumstances.

He said: "Singling out Turing just because he is famous is wrong. Unlike Alan, many thousands of ordinary gay and bisexual men who were convicted under the same law have never been offered a pardon and will never get one.

"An apology and pardon is due to another 50,000-plus men who were also convicted of consenting, victimless homosexual relationships during the 20th century."

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