Alex Batty reveals he invented 'four-day hike' story to protect his mother and grandfather

Teenager reveals he escaped from his nomadic existence for a better future
Alex Batty talking about his ordeal to The Sun
The Sun
Michael Howie1 minute ago

Alex Batty has revealed he decided to return to the UK for a better future, having realised his mother was “a great person but not a great mum”.

Interviewed for the first time, the 17-year-old said he realised he could no longer live with his “anti-government, anti-vax” mother after an argument.

In an interview with The Sun, the teenager, who is back in the UK after more than six years since he disappeared on holiday in Spain with his mother and grandfather, said he had become fed up of his nomadic lifestyle with “no friends and “no social life”.

I realised it wasn’t a great way to live for my future

Alex Batty

Alex did not return from a pre-arranged trip there when he was 11 and is said to have lived an “alternative” lifestyle abroad before deciding to return home.

He was picked up by chiropody student Fabien Accidini near the French city of Toulouse in the early hours of Wednesday last week after walking across the Pyrenees “for four days and four nights”.

Speaking about his mother, Melanie Batty, in an interview with the paper, he said: “She’s a great person and I love her but she’s just not a great mum.

“I had an argument with my mum and I just thought I’m gonna leave because I can’t live with her.”

The teenager – who is now under the legal guardianship of his grandmother Susan Caruana in Oldham, Greater Manchester – said his mother was “anti-government, anti-vax” whose catchphrase was “becoming a slave to the system”.

Alex Batty, now 17, was found in France (Family handout)
PA Media

“I realised it wasn’t a great way to live for my future,” he continued.

“Moving around. No friends, no social life. Working, working, work and not studying. That’s the life I imagined I would be leading if I were to stay with my mum.”

After being looked after by the French authorities, Alex met his step-grandfather at Toulouse airport on Saturday before boarding a flight back to the UK, Greater Manchester Police said.

He can now look forward to spending time with family members, friends and others he grew up with in Greater Manchester, where he was living as a young boy before he disappeared and police say is “where he wants to be”.

It is thought Alex had been living with his mother and grandfather, who had taken him on the trip to Spain in September 2017 – across Spain, Morocco and France while he was missing.

Last week, French prosecutors said the teenager’s mother, Melanie Batty – who does not have legal parental guardianship, may be in Finland.

Antoine Leroy told reporters Alex had said he knew his way of life with his mother “had to stop” after she announced an intention to move to Finland.

This led him to walk for “four days and four nights” across the Pyrenees, the prosecutor said.

However Alex told the Sun he made up his story about a four-day journey in a bid to protect his mother and grandfather from being arrested by the police.

"I've been lying to try and protect my mum and grandad but I realise that they're probably gonna get caught anyway," he said.

"I didn't get lost. I knew exactly where I was going," he added. Alex said his real journey was in fact a two-day hike which saw him walk to the town of Quillan before heading towards Toulouse.