Tomás MacCurtain was shot dead at his home at Thomas Davis Street, Blackpool between 12.10 a.m. and 1.15 a.m. on Saturday, 20 March 1920. It was the morning of his thirty-sixth birthday. The fatal revolver shots were fired by two men with blackened faces who had rushed upstairs and called him out of bed after his wife had opened the door to their knocks and threats. Companions of the murderers held her at the door while the crime was being committed. The inquest verdict found that all those engaged were members of the Royal Irish Constabulary.
The circumstances of the murder were the subject of a historic inquest, conducted by Coroner James J. McCabe, in which ninety-seven witnesses were examined, sixty-four of them being police, thirty-one civilians, and two military. The inquest was opened on 20 March and concluded on 17 April with the following unanimous verdict:
We find that the late Alderman Tomás MacCurtain, Lord Mayor of Cork, died from shock and haemorrhage caused by bullet wounds, and that he was willfully murdered under circumstances of the most callous brutality, and that the murder was organised and carried out by the Royal Irish Constabulary, officially directed by the British Government, and we return a verdict of willful murder against David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England; Lord French, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; Ian McPherson, late Chief Secretary of Ireland; Acting Inspector General Smith, of the Royal Irish Constabulary; Divisional Inspector Clayton of the Royal Irish Constabulary; District Inspector Swanzy and some unknown members of the Royal Irish Constabulary. We strongly condemn the system at present in vogue of carrying out raids at unreasonable hours. We tender to Mrs. MacCurtain and family our sincerest sympathy. We extend to the citizens of Cork our sympathy in the loss they have sustained by the death of one so eminently capable of directing their civic administration.
Swanzy would be assassinated by the IRA in August.