Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

THE grandmother of Alex Batty has revealed how her daughter abandoned him in a Moroccan commune before allegedly kidnapping him three years later.

Alex Batty was just 11 when he vanished while on holiday in Spain in 2017 with his mum Melanie, then 37.

Alex Batty seen as a child in Morocco where Melanie took him three years before kidnap

Pixel8000Melanie (Alex’s mum) sent Susan a video telling her he would not be coming home from the 2017 holiday[/caption]

Focus FeaturesAlex’s grandmother and guardian Susan feared she’d never see him again (pictured before the holiday in 2017)[/caption]

PA:Press AssociationSusan (pictured) said that she feared her daughter and ex-partner had forced Alex into living an ‘alternative lifestyle’[/caption]

Melanie’s mum, Susan Caruana, was Alex’s legal guardian and was expecting him home after just a week in Marbella.

But Alex did not return from the trip, and Melanie sent Susan a video message saying he would not be coming home because she wanted him to follow her lifestyle.

They were due home on October 8, but inquiries at the time suggested they may have sailed that day from Malaga to Melilla on the Moroccan border.

Susan said she feared his mum had forced him to adopt an “alternative lifestyle” and that she would never see him again.

She thought Melanie, who had become obsessed with the same cult-like ideas as her ex-partner David, might have fled with him to a Moroccan commune where she had previously lived.

In 2014, Melanie had taken Alex, aged eight, to live there and David had soon followed.

Alex’s mum apparently then moved to Bali with a new boyfriend, leading Alex to move in with his grandmother.

Speaking in February 2018, Susan said: “I am absolutely frantic. Alex’s home and school are here. I love and miss him so much.”

Alex Batty, was 11 years old when he went missing during a family holiday in Spain in 2017

His mum Melanie and grandad allegedly kidnapped him, leaving his grandmother and legal guardian Susan devastated

On December 14 Alex was found alive and well six years after his kidnapping

He hiked for four days to escape a commune in the Pyrenees mountains

His family in the UK think he was “brainwashed” by his mum and grandad’s beliefs

The now 17-year-old is set to return to the UK within the next few days

The lorry driver who picked him up has revealed his simple hope after the six-year ordeal

On Thursday, six years after he vanished, Alex escaped a commune in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains and fled on foot until a lorry driver picked him up.

He was able to identify himself to police and is now expected to return back to his home in the UK in the next few days.

He told his roadside rescuer “my mum kidnapped me when I was 12”, and said that she “is a little crazy”, but would not reveal her location.

Susan previously revealed in 2018 that her daughter Melanie was a rebellious teenager, partying hard and drinking.

She and her husband, David, struggled to cope with her. 

Melanie later went to university and got a law degree but couldn’t hold down a job. And in 2006, she had a son, Alex.

Susan said: “I lived nearby, and I saw Alex every day, I looked after him a lot and we had such a close bond.

“I loaned loads of money to Melanie, to care for Alex, but she just blew the lot.”

Susan and David by this point had separated, and he was in therapy for health issues. Afterwards, Susan said he changed dramatically.

She explained: “Dave went through therapy and afterwards he began acting strangely.

“He became very spiritual. He didn’t believe in working any more and so he fell behind with his mortgage and bills and the bailiffs were called in.

“Melanie became caught up with his new lifestyle too and she got involved with a cult.

“She began travelling abroad, with Alex. Their lives were chaotic. Melanie didn’t believe in school or education. I was really worried about them.”

Susan said: “I was devastated. I was so close to Alex and I missed him terribly. From Facebook I could see that the conditions there were terrible.

“Then, Melanie went off to live in Bali with a new boyfriend, leaving Alex behind. I was panic-stricken and I paid for a flight home for him.”

It was then that Alex began living with Susan.

Melanie remained in Bali and spoke to her son intermittently on Skype.

Susan said: “I got Alex into a local school in Oldham and he was really settled and happy. He was so pleased to have a home.”

Alex was found on Thursday after fleeing through the Pyrenees mountains on foot

FacebookFriends of Alex on Facebook include people who appear to live off-grid and practice rituals and meditation[/caption]

Alex sent his grandma a text telling her he was alive after a lorry driver picked him up

The concerned grandmother then applied to the courts for guardianship of Alex, but Melanie refused to recognise the court action.

Susan shockingly revealed: “She returned home – and I paid for her flight.

“She refused to co-operate with the courts, but she sent me an invoice for £500,000 for use of her ‘property’ – Alex.

“I was horrified. It was so upsetting.”

Susan was eventually awarded guardianship of Alex in 2016. Melanie refused to attend court for the ruling.

Despite Melanie’s strained relationship with both her mum and her son – Susan still wanted the pair to maintain a relationship of some kind.

Susan said: “I was happy for Melanie to see Alex, I wanted to them to have contact. But her lifestyle was still chaotic.”

In October 2017, Melanie asked if she could take Alex away on holiday to Marbella.

Susan said: “I was very torn. I was worried about her taking him. But Alex was desperate to go on holiday with his mum. I didn’t want to let him down.

“I’d had to cancel a holiday earlier in the year because I’d been in hospital, so it seemed very cruel to deny him the opportunity.

“Dave said he would go along too. I trusted him. I never thought he would lie to me or compromise Alex’s safety.”

Horrifyingly, Susan revealed that Alex called her from the holiday before his mother broke of all contact between them.

“During the holiday, Alex called me, and said he was on the beach,” she said.

“But in the background, I heard his mum shout: Switch the phone off. No more contact.

“My heart dropped. I was frantic.”

It was then that Melanie sent the video message to Susan – telling her that she would not see her grandson return home.

Susan said: “I was heartbroken. I blamed myself because I had trusted them with him.

“On the video, Alex said it was a million times better being with his mum and granddad. It hurt me a bit, but I knew he was just being a kid, enjoying the freedom.”

At the time, Susan said all she wanted was to know that her grandson was safe.

She said: “I am beyond angry and upset with Melanie. She has let me down so many times and this has broken our relationship for good.”

And she had not heard from him since, until the pair were able to speak on Thursday after his escape in France this week.

Speaking from her home in Oldham, Gtr Manchester, she said: “I am so happy. I have spoken to him and he is well.”

British cops are reportedly preparing to arrest his mum Melanie and grandad David after the alleged abduction.

A focus of the enquiry is a claim that Alex’s mother did not want him to go to school, said a French police source.

The teen was apparently living with no formal teaching or health care.

It is understood the off-grid commune where he was is completely isolated from mainstream society and has no schools.

Focus FeaturesAlex during a Christmas before he disappeared[/caption]

FACEBOOK/UNPIXSAlex with his mum Melanie and grandad David[/caption]

APAlex was just 11 when he was allegedly kidnapped[/caption]

PA:Press AssociationHis grandad, Susan’s ex-partner David, is thought to have lived with him and Melanie in the years since his disappearance[/caption]

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