Saturday 16 December 2017

Film sheds light on Turing plight

Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of Alan Turing has brought the pioneering scientist's story to a wider audience.

The film follows him from his days working as a Second World War code breaker at Bletchley Park to his work at Manchester University which saw him hailed as the father of modern computing and his tragic death.

Turing led a team decoding messages at Bletchley Park, whose work remained secret until many years after the war's end, and also designed the "bombe" machine which decrypted German messages.

Their work helped shorten the conflict and saved many thousands of lives, but instead of being hailed a hero he was persecuted for his homosexuality.

After his conviction in 1952 for gross indecency with a 19-year-old Manchester man, he was chemically castrated and two years later died from cyanide poisoning in an apparent suicide, though there have been suggestions his death was an accident.

He was given a posthumous royal pardon in 2013 and Cumberbatch has added his name to a campaign to pardon tens of thousands of gay men convicted alongside him.

Campaigners have called for the royal family to act and convince the Government to pardon all 49,000 men convicted under the outdated law.

The Queen granted the scientist a posthumous pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy in 2013.

But the campaigners say this should be extended to all men who fell foul of the law.

Press Association

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