A BRITISH teen who lived for years in a hippy commune apparently kept his real identity under wraps with a fake name while sheltering with a French family.
PAAlex Batty, allegedly kidnapped at 11, lived in France under a fake name for years before he fled[/caption]
Doug SeeburgThe remote holiday gite [cottage] in the hamlet of La Bastide where Alex lived[/caption]
Alex had been staying on and off with French couple Frédéric Hambye and Ingrid Beauve (pictured)
Going by the name “Zach”, Alex often lived at a remote holiday gite [cottage] in the La Bastide hamlet with Frédéric Hambye and Ingrid Beauve.
Hambye and Beauve claimed they welcomed Alex into their family and he lived and worked at the remote gite, north of the Pyrenees, for months at a time.
The French couple, who had kids of their own, said Alex was “eager to go to school and get back to a normal life” even before he confided his plans in them to return home.
In a statement posted to the local Facebook page, they claimed he dreamt of working in Canada with computers and according to them, was tech-savvy.
They said: “As time went on, we saw him as part of our family and we think he appreciated the stability and security we represent.”
According to the couple, Alex loved to cycle, cook and often made beef stew, chocolate cake, pasta bolognese and veggie dishes.
The youngster would apparently meet her at the Sunday hippy market in Espéraza, where he enjoyed a tuna baguette.
Thierry Strub, who works there, described him as “a very nice boy.”
“We enjoyed time together in summer, like cycling on the railway track, visiting the beach and the river,” the couple added.
Owners of the Gîte de la Bastide in Camps-sur-l’Agly in the Aude region, southeast of Toulouse, Hambye and Beauve said their hamlet was not the spiritual commune his mum was looking for.
He would apparently join his mum sporadically “in her successive places of residence between the Aude and Ariège”, but often stayed with them for long periods.
Hambye and Beauve revealed “she was looking for a place to live in a community.
“La Bastide doesn’t have this ambition. Nor are we a spiritual community.”
Despite having unlimited access to the internet, Alex seems not to have made any attempt to contact outside help as he lived there under “Zach” on and off for years.
When he decided to go home, the now 17-year-old apparently refused the couple’s offer to drive him to the British consulate.
They said: “He told us that he would find a way to return to the UK on his own to get new papers and go back to school.”
“We reiterated to him that he would always be welcome and if needed, we were there to help him.
“The rest as well as his real name and full story, we discovered in the press at the beginning of this week. We wish him the best of luck.”
He had reportedly tried to “enrol in a school” in the town of Quillan in November, according to La Depeche.
“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”.
He told the young delivery driver who found him walking along the side of a rural road in south west France on Wednesday: “I need a future.”
Family friends have claimed his mum and grandad had become obsessed with cult-like ideas and abandoned their normal lives in Greater Manchester to fight ‘the establishment’, the banks and bailiffs.
On Saturday night, Alex was finally reunited with gran Susan Caruana, 68, in Oldham, Greater Manchester.
EnterpriseAlex was allegedly kidnapped by his mum and grandad while on holiday with them in 2017[/caption]
PA:Press AssociationAlex was finally reunited with his grandmother and legal guardian Susan in the UK (pictured) over the weekend[/caption]Leave a comment