Even though the movie Van Diemen’s Land was advertised as being based on a true story, there are some inconsistencies with the story that are worth pointing out. For example according to the official records from the court documentation (death sentence) Alexander Pearce gave three different confessions to three different people about his escape from Sarah Island.
Was Alexander Pearce really a cannibal?
According to the official records there is no doubt that Alexander Pearce was really a cannibal. However there are some discrepancies in the story about the escape from the Sarah Island.
Pearce himself is to blame for these discrepancies because he gave several different accounts on who died how during the escape. For example, one testimony from Pearce says that it was Alexander Dalton who was the first victim, while another lists Bodenham as the first that was eaten by the hungry group of escaped convicts. In either case it was 7 men that escaped with Pearce, and out of the 5 that died, 4 seem to have been eaten by Pearce. If that’s not enough, after the escape from Sarah Island and after getting caught again, during the second escape Pearce killed and ate another escapee by the name of Thomas Cox. For that he was hanged. In short, the answer to the question was Alexander Pearce really a cannibal would be a definitive yes. The only thing that isn’t know is the order in which he butchered his victims.