Lewis Hutchinson

Lewis Hutchinson

Lewis Hutchinson
Born 1733
Died 1773

Lewis Hutchinson, a Scottish immigrant to Jamaica, was the first recorded serial killer in Jamaica’s history and one of its most prolific.

Hutchinson, better known as the Mad Master and Mad Doctor of Edinburgh Castle, was born in Scotland in 1733 where he is believed to have studied medicine. In the 1760s, he came to Jamaica to head an estate called Edinburgh Castle. He was said to have legally obtained the house (now a ruin) but to have maintained his group of cattle through the theft of strays from neighbours. This would not be the only accusation made of Hutchinson.

Shortly after Hutchinson’s arrival in Jamaica, travellers began to disappear and suspicion started to mount. For many miles, Edinburgh Castle was the only populated location on the way from Saint Ann’s Bay and, not knowing that they would become the target of Hutchinson’s rifle, travellers would rest at the castle, only to succumb to the Mad Doctor’s attack. Hutchinson murdered for pure sport, what may be described as a thrill killing, as passers-by from all races, shapes, sizes, and incomes were fair game.

What is true about Hutchinson’s killings is debatable. He would shoot lone travellers and was said to feed on the flow of his victims’ blood as well as dismember them. He, or according to some sources his slaves, would then toss the remains in a cotton tree or a sinkhole for animals to feast on. That sinkhole became known as Hutchinson’s Hole. At the height of his villainy, he would invite guests to his castle to be entertained before killing them.

Hutchinson’s reputation for debauchery made him notable as many would avoid him out of fear. His slaves’ tales of terrible treatment and the gruesome details of the murders made him legendary. This is why he was allowed to roam free for a time until he shot an English soldier by the name of John Callendar. John Callender attempted to apprehend Hutchison. After Hutchinson shot Callender, he bolted south to Old Harbour and boarded a ship. The Royal Navy, commanded by Admiral Rodney, caught Hutchinson before he could escape.

Shortly after being caught, he was tried and found guilty. In 1773 he was hanged in Spanish Town Square. Although the final toll won’t be known, upon searching his home after his arrest, approximately 43 watches and a large amount of clothes were found. The records of his trial stand in the National Archives.

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