Court side report for the Knutsford Courier

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Court side report for the Knutsford Courier

For the Knutsford Courier
Reporter Sylvia Seddon
Courtroom Illustrator Robin Sukatorn

Regina vs Turing and Murray 31st March 1952

Today in Knutsford’s elegant, classical Courthouse, there took place, before his honour Judge J Frazer Harrison, the hearing of the case of Regina v. Turing and Murray.
Both men, Alan Matheson Turing and Arnold Murray, were accused of the commission of acts of gross indecency, and of being party to such acts, on three occasions: 17th December 1951, 12th January 1952 and 2nd February 1952. These acts were committed in Turing’s home, in Wilmslow, so that the original charges were heard in Wilmslow Magistrates’ Court on the 27th of February. At that hearing, Turing was permitted bail, upon payment of £50, but Murray, who was also facing allegations of theft from Turing, was not granted bail.

Hence, today, the two men entered the dock differently, Turing from the courtroom and Murray from the cells. Those in the public gallery were surprised by the differences in their ages, clothes and appearance; Murray a boy, Turing old enough to be his father.
Both men pleaded guilty as charged and Mr David opened the case for the prosecution, explaining that Turing had travelled into Manchester and met Murray on Oxford Rd., a known centre for such “meetings”.

Illustration by Robin Sukatorn

Perhaps the most shocking evidence, given by the prosecution, was in the sworn testimony of the two policemen, Wills and Rimmer, who revealed that Turing had then taken Murray to his flat, upon at least three occasions and there indulged in the worst kinds of sexual activities with him.

This newspaper will not repeat the detailed description of these acts, to protect its readers. The words shocked those here in the public gallery. Suffice it to say that Turing was explicit in the detail and was also accusing Murray of theft.
There followed presentations to the court by the lawyers acting for both men. Mr Lind-Smith, for Turing (41), listed his academic status at Manchester University, and the importance of his pioneering scientific work on the mathematics of machines. With no previous convictions, he said, Turing is a man of high academic standing, who contributed so substantially in his war work, that he received an O.B.E. in 1945. Then colleagues testified to his scientific importance, his honesty and his social acceptability.

Mr. Hooson, for Murray (19), told the court that the boy had now lost his job as a photo-printer and was a vulnerable young man who had had no homosexual leanings before he was seduced by Turing’s sophistication. Murray, he said, now deeply regretted how easily he had been impressed, and made a victim by the older man.

Illustration by Robin Sukatorn

When Judge Harrison began his summing up, the public gallery was hushed and attentive. He found that Murray had, indeed, become involved with someone who took advantage of his youth and naivety. He recognised that Murray had now spent four weeks in custody. He therefore bound him over for 12months to be of good behaviour.

However, in sentencing Turing, he noted that in spite of his fine professional work, his standing in the academic community, and the evidence of his war work (which had been seen in camera), there seemed to be little regret or remorse in his submissions. He asked whether Turing was willing to submit himself to Organo-Therapeutic treatment, from a qualified medical practitioner at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, for the “lust” which over-rode his critical functions. When Turing answered “I will”, he sentenced him to a probation order of 12 months, with that requirement.
The two men left the court without a glance at each other.


See more illustrations from Robin here

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