A disgraced former sports director at Sydney’s Knox Grammar who collected thousands of child abuse photographs spent $1,500 weekly on ice and drank through the day, a court has heard.

Key points:

  • A court heard Nick Warby was introduced to child exploitation material through Grindr
  • Warby’s mother said she had no idea her son had a drug and alcohol problem
  • Warby has been studying horticulture and accepts he will never teach again

Nick Warby pleaded guilty to possessing more than 3,400 photos and videos stored on five devices including his mobile phone.

The 31-year-old was arrested in August 2019 after accidentally leaving his phone at a pool, leading police to then search that device, his car and other possessions.

His mother, Belinda Warby, today told his sentencing hearing at Downing Centre Local Court she had “no idea” her son had a serious drug and alcohol problem.

“You didn’t know he was drinking morning tea, lunchtime, after school, having alcohol in his car?” Judge Gina O’Rourke asked.

“No,” Ms Warby replied.

She also saw no signs of Warby’s $1,500-a-week ice habit, the court heard.

Warby was introduced to child exploitation material through a man he met on the Grindr app, the court heard.

In material before the court, he recalled his reaction: “I lit up”.

“It was similar to the first time I drank and the first time I used ice.”

Knox Grammar said none of Warby’s material related to students at the school.(ABC News: James Carmody)

Many of the videos ultimately found on the devices involved the sexual abuse of prepubescent boys and, in some cases, babies under two.

Ms Warby said she and her husband were “shocked” and “in disbelief” when they learned of the charges.

But she told the court in the last year her son had actively sought treatment from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a psychologist and had begun attending church.

“I think he was just grasping for help anywhere he could get it,” she said.

Nick Warby has also started studying horticulture, accepting he will never teach again, and picked up work in the industry through an AA connection.

“He’s a different person,” Ms Warby said.

Judge O’Rourke questioned how relatives from a seemingly supportive, loving family could have no idea of their son’s major drug and alcohol abuse.

“It’s quite peculiar,” she said.

The school has previously reassured parents none of Warby’s material related to Knox students.

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