Display of 'Manchester Hero' Alan Turing's homosexual court files welcomed by pardon architect.


  • Official documents detailing World War Two code-breaker Alan Turing's convictions of homosexual acts have gone on display for the first time.
  • The architect of Alan Turing's pardon, John Leech, has welcomed the release.
  • Leech led campaign to pardon Turing and 75,000+ other men criminally convicted of homosexuality.
  • Government said proposals to pardon all gay men convicted under historical gross indecency laws would be brought forward "in due course".

Official court documents detailing World War Two code-breaker Alan Turing's convictions of homosexual acts have gone on display for the first time.

One of the documents shows the mathematician admitted "acts of gross indecency" at a trial in 1952, before undergoing chemical castration.

Turing's conviction meant he lost his security clearance and was forced to stop work at Bletchley Park.

Aged just 41, he was found dead from cyanide poisoning in 1954 with a half-eaten apple by his side. An inquiry concluded that it was suicide.

In 2013, Alan Turing was given a posthumous royal pardon after an official apology by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, prompted by a campaign led by former MP John Leech.

The files, which will go on display at Chester Town Hall, have been warmly welcomed by the architect of Alan Turing's pardon, Cllr. John Leech, who said: "I really hope this will go some way to highlighting just how absurd the conviction was, and how rightly deserved the pardon is.

"This is an important public service that I think will help generations to come understand the significance of Turing's life.

"It's a great contribution to LGBTQ+ history".

Former Manchester MP, John Leech, submitted several motions to parliament and campaigned hard to secure the historic pardon. Mr Leech celebrated Turing's pardon but noted that it was "utterly disgusting and ultimately just embarrassing" that the conviction was upheld as long as it was.

It was in Manchester, in 1952, that Turing was arrested for having sex with another man, whilst much of his ground-breaking scientific work was conducted at the University of Manchester. Today, mathematics students at the university attend lectures in the building proudly bearing his name.

Mr Leech added: "I believe Alan Turing would be so proud to see how far society has moved on and how widely his work is now celebrated."

At the UK premiere of the film based on Turing's life, The Imitation Game, the producers publicly thanked Mr Leech for his campaign which brought the injustice to public attention, and for successfully securing Turing's pardon.

Mr Leech said Turing's persecution "by the state for being gay was a scandal that shouldn't have been allowed to stand".

The first motion Mr Leech submitted called for a recognition of the "vital contribution made by Alan Turing to Britain's war effort" and "regrets that following his years of national service he received a criminal conviction for having a sexual relationship with another man".

It is predicted that Turing's work saved the lives of an estimated 14 to 21 million, shortening the war by two to four years.

The former MP, Mr Leech, said Turing was "a Manchester hero and a national hero."

Following the success of John Leech's campaign to pardon Alan Turing, Mr Leech turned to securing the pardon for the 75,000+ other men criminally convicted of sexuality. 

Last week the Government said proposals to pardon all gay men convicted under historical gross indecency laws would be brought forward "in due course".

The files will be on display until 9 October at Chester Town Hall.


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