DENVER — Historical items belonging to British computer scientist and mathemetician Alan Turing have been returned to England after a Conifer woman was accused of taking them, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver said.
Court documents alleged the woman hid thousands of dollars worth of medals, notes and pictures in her home for more than 30 years before federal officers conducted a search warrant and recovered the artifacts in 2018.
Turing was a computing genius whose work deciphering codes and encrypted messaging is credited with saving thousands of lives during World War II.
The U.S. learned about the items when they were offered for display at the University of Colorado, prosecutors said. An investigation revealed the items had been taken without permission from the Sherborne School in Dorset, England.
Turing attended the school from approximately 1926 to 1931, and the items were originally placed there by his family, prosecutors said. In 1984, a person named Julia Schinghomes arrived at the school and took the items into her possession, prosecutors said. She later changed her name to Julia Turing, prosecutors said.
Julia Turing said she was a relative of Alan Turing, when in fact she is not. Court documents said she changed her name in 1988.
The United States and Julia Turing reached a settlement in the case in April 2021, according to court documents. As part of the settlement, the court ordered the items to be forfeited.
Several of the items were returned to the Sherborne School in a ceremony this week, prosecutors said. Those items included Turing’s Ph.D. diploma from Princeton University, the Order of the British Empire Medal, a personal note from the King George VI of England, a number of school reports, and various photos.
“Together with Homeland Security Investigations, our office ensured that historical artifacts belonging to Alan Turing are now back in the place where they belong,” U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan said in a news release Tuesday. “We celebrate the accomplishments of Alan Turing and are thrilled that the historical significance of these artifacts will continue to be appreciated by scholars and generations to come.”
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