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 had been doing DIY with his son on the afternoon he tragically hanged himself in February.

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

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

His bandmate and close friend, Lloyd Coombes, 28, 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.”

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.

“Obviously he was troubled, there was a lot of things on the go and he was upset, but the evidence isn’t sufficient enough to record suicide.”

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, but he had made plans to discuss the future of his relationship.

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.”