Prime Minister Gordon Brown has issued an apology to code breaker and key computing pioneer Alan Turing, 53 years after his death.

The apology has come after 30,000 people signed a petition, demanding the government say sorry about the inhumane treatment Turing was subjected to after he was prosecuted with 'gross indecency' for having a relationship with another man.

Turing worked at Bletchley Park during World War II and was part of the team which cracked the Enigma code.

His contribution to the war was singled out by then Prime Minister Winston Churchill for its significance in helping the Allied forces to victory.

But his work on the mathematical foundations of computing has been even more influential, with his work credited as fathering modern computer science, thanks to his concept of Turing machines.

Treatment utterly unfair

"While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time, and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair, and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him," said Brown in his apology.

"Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted, as he was convicted, under homophobic laws, were treated terribly. I am proud those days are gone."

As a result of his work, Turing has been voted by Time magazine as one of the '100 most important people of the 20th Century'.