Burke and Hare filled a niche market, albeit for fresh corpses at a time before the Anatomy Acts made them more available. The duo chose their victims from Edinburgh’s underclass; Hare held them down, whilst Burke sat on them until death intervened. ‘Burking’ became a verb.
The West Port murders were committed in the shadow of the castle, but the paying customers were the New Town’s medical men and anatomists. None asked any questions.
Ten pounds for each body.
Eventually greed and carelessness led Burke to the gallows, hanged after Hare turned King’s Evidence.
His corpse was sent for dissection.