Live updates



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

'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.

Load more updates