Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

ALEX Batty will fly back to the UK today, six years after being allegedly kidnapped, French prosecutor Samuel Vuelta Simon said.

The 17-year-old is understood to be taking a direct flight from France to England in the late afternoon on Saturday.

PAAlex Batty will be flying back to the UK this evening, a French prosecutor said[/caption]

Pixel8000The boy, then 11, was on holiday with his mum Melanie (centre) and his grandfather but never returned to the UK[/caption]

Toulouse deputy prosecutor Antoine Leroy said the teen would be on a flight from Toulouse Blagnac airport to London “accompanied by members of the British police services.”

He will then transfer on to his grandmother’s house in Oldham, Greater Manchester, for an emotional reunion.

The boy, who left a spiritualist community in the Pyrenees mountains, disappeared at the age of 11 during a holiday with his mother and grandfather in Malaga, Spain, in 2017.

Toulouse deputy prosecutor Antoine Leroy said on Friday Alex had spent the past two years in different areas of southern France, living in “spiritual communities” with his mother, but not in a sect.

The grandfather died about six months ago, said Leroy, adding that the boy’s mother might currently be in Finland.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) earlier said they were working with French authorities to bring Batty home to his grandmother, who is his legal guardian.

France’s BFM TV has reported a search operation was underway to find Batty’s mother.

It comes after Alex allegedly tried to enrol in a school in France last month but nobody worked out who he was and police took no action, French media claimed.

He told a delivery driver who found him walking along the side of a rural road in south west France on Wednesday: “I need a future.”

But on Saturday French newspaper La Depeche reported that Alex in fact tried to “enrol in a school” in the town of Quillan in November.

He could not provide any identity papers, so teachers contacted police about the British teenager, who spoke little French.

“The gendarmes tried to contact the English authorities,” said an investigating source, but “there was a hiccup which did not allow the report to be followed up”.

They added: “Collaboration [between the French and the British] did not make it possible to establish a link between the presence of Alex Batty in Quillan and his disappearance notice issued seven years earlier in England.”

The slip-up shows how far away combined police forces working through the international crime agency Interpol were from finding the vulnerable boy.

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