Alex Batty: Teenager found in France returns to UK to be reunited with grandmother

Police say they are yet to establish whether they will open a criminal investigation into ‘abduction’

Matt Mathers
Monday 18 December 2023 10:04 GMT
Related video: ‘Abducted’ Alex Batty has video called grandmother since being found, police say

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Alex Batty, the teenager who was found in France after being missing for six years, has arrived back in the UK.

An aircraft carrying the 17-year-old touched down in the UK on Saturday. He travelled with a family member who met him at Toulouse airport earlier in the day.

Assistant chief constable Matt Boyle, of Greater Manchester Police, said the force was yet to establish the full circumstances of Alex’s disappearance and whether or not a criminal investigation would be opened.

Alex Batty was 11 when he went missing with his mother and grandfather
Alex Batty was 11 when he went missing with his mother and grandfather (PA Media)

“Our continued focus is supporting Alex and his family, in partnership with other local agencies – to ensure that they are safe, their wellbeing is looked after, and his reintegration with society is as easy as possible,” he told reporters at a press conference on Saturday evening.

“We are yet to fully establish the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, but no matter what, we 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.”

GMP would also not comment “at this time” on what Alex was doing while abroad, as the force has not yet received a statement from the teenager.

Alex was due to be taken to Oldham, Greater Manchester, for an emotional reunion with his grandmother, Susan Caruana.

He was allegedly taken by his mother Melanie Batty, who did not have parental guardianship rights, and his grandfather David Batty, when the trio went on a holiday to Spain in 2017.

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

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

Alex Batty’s grandmother Susan Caruana
Alex Batty’s grandmother Susan Caruana (Supplied)

Alex, his mother and grandfather were believed to have been living a nomadic lifestyle in spiritual communities over the past few years.

After he was found in France, Alex texted his grandmother: “I love you, I want to come home.”

Ms Caruana said in a statement issued on Friday: “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.”

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