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Alex Batty’s gran and legal guardian Susan Caruana said she ‘cannot begin to express my relief and happiness that Alex has been found’ (Picture: PA)

The grandmother of a British boy who went missing six years ago has expressed her ‘relief and happiness’ that he has been found and said she ‘can’t wait to see him when we’re reunited’.

Alex Batty disappeared with his mother Melanie Batty and grandfather David Batty in September 2017, but is expected to return to the UK over the weekend.

In a statement issued on Friday, Alex’s gran and legal guardian Susan Caruana said: ‘I cannot begin to express my relief and happiness that Alex has been found safe and well.

‘I spoke with him last night and it was so good to hear his voice and see his face again. I can’t wait to see him when we’re reunited.

‘The main thing is that he’s safe, after what would be an overwhelming experience for anyone, not least a child.

‘I would ask that our family are given privacy as we welcome Alex back, so we can make this process as comforting as possible.’

Alex Batty’s guardian and grandmother Sue Caruana in 2019 (Picture: PA)

Alex Batty, from Oldham, Lancashire, was just 11 when he did not return from a holiday to Spain with his mother Melanie, then 37, and grandfather David, then 58, in 2017 (Picture: PA)

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Earlier on Friday, Toulouse assistant public prosecutor Antoine Leroy told reporters that the 17-year-old’s mother may be in Finland and his grandfather died six months ago.

Mr Leroy told reporters the teenager knew the life he was having with his mother ‘had to stop’ after she announced intentions to move to the Scandinavian country.

Alex, who the prosecutor said was living a ‘nomadic’ lifestyle, took part in a ‘meditation ceremony’ when his grandfather died.

He had gone on a family holiday to Spain on September 30, 2017, and is believed to have been abducted by his 43-year-old mother to live an ‘alternative’ lifestyle abroad.

Greater Manchester Police said he is now being ‘well cared for’ by French authorities.

The teenager was found near the French city of Toulouse on Wednesday and taken to a police station in the village of Revel by chiropody student Fabien Accidini.

Mr Leroy said he had been walking for four days from where he was stationed in the Pyrenees and where he was found by Mr Accidini.

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The teenager was found near the French city of Toulouse on Wednesday (Picture: AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images)

Addressing the whereabouts of Alex’s mother and grandfather, the prosecutor said: ‘It is possible that the mother at this time has in fact gone to Finland as she planned.

‘The grandfather, who has always been with his daughter and grandson, is said to have died approximately six months ago.’

Continuing to describe how Alex had been living over the past six years, Mr Leroy said: ‘They would work on the ego, there was meditation work – there was no connection with the real world.

‘They believed in reincarnation.’

The prosecutor added: ‘When his mother indicated that she was going to leave with him to Finland, this young man understood that this had to stop.

‘So he then decided to leave the place where he was with his mother and he went walking for four days and four nights.

‘He was exclusively walking at night and sleeping in the day.’

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Speaking about Alex’s condition when he was checked over by officials, Mr Leroy added: ‘This young man was described by the police who have seen him and by the doctors who examined him as “tired” but overall in good health.

‘He’s said to be intelligent even though he’s never been to school in this entire period.’

The prosecutor said David and Melanie Batty had an ‘obsession’ with solar panels, as he spoke of the ‘spiritual’ community Alex had left behind.

He continued: ‘He doesn’t describe any kind of physical violence, without talking about emotional violence.

‘We can’t use the term “sect” as such but he talks of a spiritual community.’

French police said when they moved to a new place, the only things they would take with them were solar panels and their allotment.

‘They only used car-sharing, they didn’t have their own vehicle,’ Mr Leroy said.

He added: ‘What I’m describing is what happened in Morocco, in Spain and in France – it was always the same way of living.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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