GRIEVING parents told an inquest their musician son had spoken to them just hours before he took his own life, leaving them in “complete and utter shock”.

Those were the words spoken by Tom Heward’s father Iain, who said he had been doing DIY with his son on the afternoon he tragically hanged himself in February.

Iain and Beverley Heward listened, alongside their two other sons and family friends, to the details of their 28-year-old son’s death at his flat in Colchester.

Essex coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded an open verdict at the inquest hearing at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court.

She said: “We really can’t be quite sure what was going on in his mind.

“It might have been impulsive. He might have hoped he might have been found.

“Obviously he was troubled. There were a lot of things on the go and he was upset, but the evidence isn’t sufficient enough to record suicide so I’m going to record an open verdict.”

Det Insp Julia Finch was one of the first to arrive at Tom’s home, where she found him in the kitchen.

She told the court there was nothing to suggest foul play or any third party involvement in the drummer’s death.

“There was no note found at the flat just an electronic message identified afterwards,” she said.

“There had been a breakdown in a relationship beforehand. 

“They had arranged to meet that particular day to discuss the relationship and where it was going to go from that point.”

Tom was in a relationship with another man which his parents alluded to him accepting was coming to an end.

Mrs Heward told the inquest Tom had called her that evening, before he was due to see his parents, and told her he was OK with it.

She said: “He called me at 6.20pm to say he had met with (the other male) and that it’s not going to go anywhere.

“He contacted him instead of leaving him and it pushed Tom too far.

“If he hadn’t sent that text to Tom, we would have still had him. 

“He was on his way to us.”

When asked if Tom had any history relating to suicide, she replied: “He wasn’t that sort of person. He was a really happy person.”

Tom grew up in Maldon and bought a home in Colchester last year June.

He was a drummer with the band Counties which has organised a memorial show for male suicide awareness charity CALM on July 28 at Chinnerys in Southend.

His bandmate and close friend, Lloyd Coombes, who lives in Southend, said: “Tom was more than a band mate to us.

“He was our best friend and our brother and we will miss him forever.

“We resolved to finish our recordings and honour him with this show featuring some of his favourite local artists.”

The musician was four weeks into a management training program with Nandos when he died.

His parents Beverley and Iain Heward said: “His boss said that he very rarely ever gets to employ someone who just gets it, but Tom was perfect and had a very bright future with them.”

The couple added: “We are simply devastated by the tragic death of our son. 

“Tom could light up a room the minute he walked in. He was caring, loving, and loved life. 

“He was a big character and the impact he made on others is so clearly demonstrated by the messages sent to us." 

Through the Tom Heward Music Memorial, £3,500 was raised to fund musical instruments for school children.

For more information on the Tom Heward Memorial Show, click here.

  • If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, click here for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) or here for Mid and North East Essex Mind.