The crime was reported to the authorities and a search party of over 400 men with bloodhounds and led by King James himself set out to find and apprehend the monsters.
After a long period of fruitless searching the bloodhounds eventually stumbled onto the cave and let out such a furious burst of yelping that the search party became convinced that, unlikely as it may be, this must be where the family was hiding.
The King and his guards edged into the cave, and, as they descended further inside, lit torches. The light showed a horrific sight. Body parts hung on the cave walls, limbs lay pickled in jars and the possessions of the victims lay in huge piles around the cave.
Sawney and his family were imprisoned at the Tolbooth in Edinburgh and met their ends in Leith, where, in an act of cruelty to match their crimes, the menfolk had their limbs removed and were allowed to bleed to death. The women got off lightly in comparison, being burned at the stake.
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