William Burke was one half of the pair responsible for the West Port murders committed in 19th century Edinburgh, Scotland. He and his partner, William Hare, smothered their victims and then sold the bodies to the anatomist Robert Knox. The pairs murdering spree was interrupted when lodgers at Mr. Hares boarding house discovered the body of their 16th victim.
The police could not prove the pair guilty of their murders, so the magistrates offered Mr. Hare immunity if he turned King’s evidence. After being convicted for all 16 murders, Mr Burke was hanged, his body turned over to anatomists for dissection, his skeleton put on display at Edinburgh Medical School (where it remains to this day), and a portion of his skin fashioned into a wallet.