The men started to splash coal oil throughout the home. Tom Donnelly at this point apparently moaned and moved a bit. His scalp was soon laid open with an axe like move of a shovel. Again, he was not beheaded or castrated as some believe although it is possible that his facial bones were crushed by the men.
Their work apparently done, the fire was set on beds soaked with coal oil. Under one of the burning beds, little Johnny O'Connor still hid and watched the men leave through the back door.
He hid as long as he could then got out from under the bed and vainly tried to staunch the flames. He said later that he believed that Tom and Johannah were still breathing at this time. When his fire-fighting efforts proved futile, he knew he had to run outside. The front door, he realized, would probably lead to a clubbing then death so he tried the kitchen door. Johannah's body blocked the door and in trying to get past her, he stepped on her and she groaned.
Adrenaline pumping, he managed to force the door and leaving it ajar, he thought about running to nearby John Whalen's house. Unfortunately, the vigilantes were in sight of the home discussing their plan to go into the hamlet of Whalen and murder William Donnelly.
He instead ran to Ann and Pat Whalen's home nearby and told them of the carnage. The couple gave Johnny some shoes and clothes to wear as he was still in his night clothes and rushed over to their son John's home. There was John, outside watching the fire and standing beside him was one of the Feeheley brothers.
The four adults went to the homestead which by now was a blazing inferno. Peering as best he could in through the front door hanging by its one good hinge, they could see one body just inside the door. Pat Whelan was almost hit with glass and other shrapnel as he knelt to peer into James' bedroom just in time for the senior Donnelly's muzzle-loading shotgun to explode.
They went to the back door left ajar by Johnny and saw all the other bodies (save Bridgette's) that were in various areas of the kitchen.
The vigilantes moved down the road towards Whalen and William's rented barn. The idea was to burn the barn and beat up Will's stallion. When he came out to investigate, they would club him to death.
They got to the barn and started whipping the poor animal (who, incidentally, survived,) and set the barn on fire. Nobody came from the house.
The group then moved up to the house and rapped on the door calling out "Will, open up! there's a fire!" John Connelly was staying in the home to take his kin to the court. He, instead of William opened the door and received a rifle blast that went through his lower abdomen and lodged in the kitchen wall. He fell back telling Will he'd been shot. John collapsed in Norah's (William's wife) arms and expired.
Norah's brother was one of the vigilantes. He hated William Donnelly for marrying his sister. Will, after John had been shot heard Norah's brother, Jack Kennedy saying "Brother-in-law rests easy now!"
With their full night's work done, the vigilantes made for home.
In the morning, Johnny O'Connor and William Donnelley went to London to tell the magistrates the tale.
Constable Carroll and five other men were brought to justice for the murders. The first jury was "hung" and could not come to a clear decision. The second, eleven months after the massacre, found James Carroll not guilty. He and the other five men were released. For a solid fortnight, there was celebrations in Lucan.