The demand for cadavers exceeded supply and the pair made it their business to create a supply in the most gruesome of circumstances. Knox was unaware of how they had procured them.
On Hallow'een 1828, Margaret Docherty, a middle-aged Irishwoman, was lured into the Broggan Guesthouse in Edinburgh by Burke who pretended that she was a relative. Burke plied her with alcohol before fetching Hare to assist him in taking her life.
The following day, other guests returned to discover her body hidden in the straw at the end of a bed. While away reporting their discovery to the authorities, Burke & Hare quickly removed the body to Knox's surgery. However, her blood-stained clothing was still under the bed. When the police and witnesses identified the body at Knox's surgery, a warrant was issued for Burke, Hare and their wives.
William Hare escaped prosecution by turning king's counsel against his former accomplice, and William Burke hanged the following year.