Gay rights campaigner calls for investigation into Alan Turing's death | UK | News | Daily Express
Did security services kill codebreaker Alan Turing for being gay?
PARDONED code-breaker Alan Turing may have been murdered by the security services to stop him leaking information to the Soviets, a leading gay rights campaigner has claimed.
Peter Tatchell has written to Prime Minister David Cameron calling for an inquiry into Turing’s death nearly 60 years ago. The gay computer pioneer, who was instrumental in cracking the Nazi’s Enigma code during the Second World War, died in 1954 after eating a cyanide-laced apple.
An inquest at the time recorded a verdict of suicide. However, Mr Tatchell believes Turing was actually poisoned by British spy chiefs who were worried that his private life combined with an expert knowledge of code breaking, advanced mathematics and computer science put him at high risk of being blackmailed by enemy agents.
His claims come days after Turing received a posthumous royal pardon from the Queen, which overturned a 1952 conviction for homosexuality.
Mr Tatchell said: “The Government should open a new inquiry into the death of Alan Turing, including an investigation into the possibility he was murdered by the security services. The security services would have been very fearful that Turing was vulnerable to blackmail and anxious that he might pass information to the Soviets.
“There was an irrational, paranoid fear that other leading scientists might also aid the Soviets. Although there is no evidence that Turing was murdered by state agents, the fact that this possibility has never been investigated is a major failing. The original inquest was perfunctory and inadequate. Although it is said that he died from eating an apple laced with cyanide, the allegedly fatal apple was never tested for cyanide.
“A new inquiry is long overdue, even if only to dispel any doubts about the true cause of his death.”Mr Tatchell, 61, said Fifties Britain was gripped by an anti-homosexual witch-hunt which was hounding gay *people out of the Armed Forces and the civil and foreign services. He said: “In this frenzied, homophobic atmosphere, all gay men were regarded as security risks – open to blackmail at a time when homosexuality was illegal and punishable by life imprisonment.”
Turing admitted to having sexual relations with another man, 19-year-old Arnold Murray, after reporting to police that a friend of Murray’s had broken into his home. Both men were charged with gross indecency, with Turing only avoiding jail after agreeing to undergo a *scientifically unsound hormonal treatment with the intention to reduce his libido.
On Christmas Eve, the Queen signed the royal prerogative of mercy for the pardon of Turing with immediate effect.
Announcing the pardon, Justice *Secretary Chris Grayling said Turing deserved to be “remembered and recognised for his fantastic contribution to the war effort”. However, Mr Tatchell added: “Singling out Turing for a royal pardon just because he was a great scientist and very famous is wrong. At least 50,000 other men were convicted under the same law. They have never been offered a pardon and will never get one. Selective redress is a bad way to remedy an *historic injustice.”
Turing, who was 41 when he died, is regarded as the most famous of all the Bletchley Park codebreakers.
He developed a Polish idea of using huge “bombe” machines, the earliest form of computers, to sift through millions of combinations of the German Enigma code. The bombe cracked the permutations of settings available, which enabled the British to gain details of *Hitler’s plans. Turing’s work and that of his colleagues has been hailed as shaving four years off the end of the war.
There was nothing in Turing’s final days to suggest he was in despair. He had left a note on his office desk the Friday before he died reminding himself of tasks to be done after the weekend.
Turing’s housekeeper found him dead in bed on June 7, 1954, with the half eaten apple on his bedside table.
The circumstances of his death are rumoured to have inspired the Apple computer company logo.
Well they never executed Burgess, Maclean, Blunt, Kim Philby or Cairncross and Cairncross actually worked at Bletchley Park..... Some of these papers were unearthed in 1951 and Turing didn't die until 1954...
If they investigate if the papers are covered under 75 years instead of 50 (which was up in 2004), they still won't be able to make it public. However, I guess that suicide still retains it's stigma unlike homosexuality and thus "they" want to "clear" Turing's name. I guess it's ok to be dead & gay, but not to be a gay dead suicide.
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