William Burke of Urney hanged in Edinburgh

29th January 1829
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Two of the most notorious Irish bodysnatchers in history were Irishmen William Burke of Urneu and William Hare of Newry who operated in Edinburgh. They murdered their victims to cash-in on the demand for corpses for medical dissection.

William Burke was hanged on 29 January 1829. He was said to have wept a great deal and to have been truly remorseful for what he had done. He faced his before a large crowd.

His corpse was dissected for the benefit of the students at Edinburgh’s College of Surgeons

Today, his death mask, skeleton, and a wallet (made from his tanned skin) remain as exhibits in the College Museum.

His accomplice, William Hare, was released from custody in January 1829 and left Edinburgh after being attacked in the street and seriously injured.

 

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