The History of Leith

January 20, 2013

Burke and Hare murders

The Burke and Hare murders (also known as the West Port murders) were a series of murders perpetrated in Edinburgh, Scotland over a period of about ten months in 1828. The killings were attributed to Irish immigrants William Burke and William Hare, who sold the corpses of their 16 victims to Doctor Robert Knox as dissection material for his well-attended anatomy lectures. Burke and Hare’s accomplices were Burke’s mistress, Helen McDougal, and Hare’s wife, Margaret Laird. From their method of killing their victims came the word “burking”, meaning to smother and compress the chest of a murder victim, and a derived meaning, to suppress something quietly. for more click here

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