Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

ALEX Batty has spoken publicly for the first time since reuniting with his family in the UK.

The British teenager, who was found in France last week, told reporters today he was “glad to be home for Christmas“.

PAAlex Batty, now 17, went missing in 2017 after going on a family holiday to Spain[/caption]

PAAlex’s grandmother and legal guardian Susan Caruana never gave up hope that her grandson would one day be found[/caption]

EnterpriseAlex Batty, now 17, with his mother Melanie and grandfather David Batty[/caption]

The boy finally returned to the home of his grandmother and legal guardian Susan Caruana in Oldham, Greater Manchester on Saturday evening after escaping a French commune.

He had been missing for more than six years when he was picked up by a French driver on a rural road in southern France.

Today, he offered his first public comment to reporters outside his grandmother’s home after returning from a shopping trip with a relative.

French prosecutor Antoine Leroy earlier said that Alex, now 17, and his mother Melanie “were on the move constantly”.

The pair and Alex’s grandfather David went on a pre-agreed trip to Spain in 2017 and were supposed to return after a week, but were not seen again – until Alex appeared on Wednesday.

David may have died six months ago, Leroy claimed.

It is understood Alex did not attend his grandfather’s funeral but there was a ceremony in the community around that time.

The nomadic commune where Alex had reportedly been since 2017 is said to be cut off from society with no schools.

He decided to flee his mum in the Pyrenees mountains when she told him they needed to move to Finland, according to Leroy.

During a press conference on Friday, French cops said: “When his mother said to Alex that they needed to go Finland, Alex Batty decided to stop this journey and left his mum and started to walk for four days and four nights.

“He was mainly walking at night and sleeping during the day.”

Relative Stephen Devine, a cousin of Alex’s mum, told The Sun: “Alex’s mum was involved in a cult.

“His grandma became his guardian but then his mum … and grandfather offered to take him on holiday for a week and they were never seen again.

“It is going to be a big adjustment for him. He’s probably grown up without a formal education.”

Alex’s grandmother Susan never gave up hope that her grandson would one day be found.

Greater Manchester Police earlier confirmed Alex had safely returned to the UK.

Assistant Chief Constable Matt Boyle said on Saturday: “Before being found by a member of the public close to Toulouse on the evening of Wednesday 13 December 2023, Alex had been missing since 2017.

“GMP are yet to obtain any formal statements from Alex and therefore we cannot comment on this at this time. Speaking with him, at a pace that feels comfortable to him, will ultimately determine how this case is progressed and whether there is a criminal investigation to ensue.

“Our continued focus is supporting Alex and his family in partnership with other local agencies to ensure they are safe, their wellbeing is looked after, and his reintegration with society is as easy as possible.”

He added: “We are yet to establish the full circumstances surrounding his disappearance, but no matter what, understand that this may be an overwhelming process. He may now be six years older than when he went missing, but he is still a young person.

“I would continue to ask for the community and media’s support in granting Alex and his family privacy as they look to move forward.”

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