BBC: Alan Turing: Inquest’s suicide verdict ‘not supportable’
At a conference in Oxford on Saturday, Turing expert Prof Jack Copeland will argue that the evidence presented at the 1954 inquest would not be accepted nowadays as sufficient to establish that Turing had taken his own life deliberately. […] the police never tested the apple for the presence of cyanide […] nothing in the accounts of Turing’s last days suggest he was in anything but a cheerful mood. He had left a note on his office desk, as was his practice, the previous Friday to remind himself of the tasks to be done on his return after the Bank Holiday weekend.
[…] It is often repeated that the chemicals caused him to grow breasts, though Turing is only known to have mentioned this once. […] Turing had tolerated the year-long hormone treatment and the terms of his probation (“my shining virtue was terrific”) with amused fortitude, and another year had since passed seemingly without incident.
[…] Prof Copeland believes the alternative explanation made at the time by Turing’s mother is equally likely. Turing had cyanide in his house for chemical experiments he conducted in his tiny spare room […]
Perhaps he had accidentally put his apple into a puddle of cyanide. Or perhaps, more likely, he had accidentally inhaled cyanide vapours from the bubbling liquid. Prof Copeland notes that the nightmare room had a “strong smell” of cyanide after Turing’s death; that inhalation leads to a slower death than ingestion; and that the distribution of the poison in Turing’s organs was more consistent with inhalation than with ingestion.