MISSING teen Alex Batty ended six years on the run with a hastily scribbled note to his mum — as he realised it was no way to live.
Fed-up Alex told Melanie, 43, not to worry as he was capable of looking after himself.
Louis Wood – The SunAlex Batty turned his back on a hippy lifestyle after clashing with his mother[/caption]
FACEBOOK/UNPIXSAlex, pictured with mum Melanie and beloved grandad David, said: ‘I just had enough and thought, ‘That’s it, I’m leaving’’[/caption]
The SunAlex reproduced his note to his mum for The Sun[/caption]
The 17-year-old also said he loved her and hoped she would not be angry with him for walking out of their home in the French Pyrenees.
He told The Sun one final argument tipped him over the edge and he realised he had enough of the hippy “pain in the a**” lifestyle forced on him by his mum.
He had been living in their latest accommodation only for a day before their fateful clash on the afternoon of Monday, December 11.
The argument — which Alex said was over a trivial thing — helped make up his mind to leave to fulfil his ambitions of studying computing at university.
He quietly packed a small rucksack full of clothes — leaving behind his prized sketch and reading books — and plotted his exit.
He told The Sun: “We had a stupid argument about nothing. “My mum can argue about anything so it doesn’t take much. She is very set in her views.
” I just had enough and thought, ‘That’s it, I’m leaving’. I wrote a note and said, ‘Hey, Mom. I want you to know I love you very much. I’m very thankful for the life that you provided for me over the past few years.
“Don’t worry about yourself. I’m sure you won’t get found. “Don’t worry about me either. You know I can look after myself. I love you very much. Don’t be angry with me. Love Alex.”
The teenager, who reproduced the note for The Sun after returning to the UK, said he had endured a difficult relationship for most of his life with his mum, who split from his dad when he was just two.
He said of his mother, who would leave him to go travelling for months at a time: “She’s a good person. But she’s just not a great mom. Plain and simple, to be honest. She just doesn’t do motherly things that you’re supposed to do.
“She’s not very warm and open. She doesn’t really listen much to anyone. She’s set in her ways. “You can’t really change her beliefs or anything and that’s just a pain in the a to deal with.”
Alex believes their relationship crucially shifted when he became a teenager and began working as a handyman alongside her and his grandfather David, 64.
He said once he started earning money for food and accommodation he stopped viewing her as an authority figure, adding: “I didn’t have to listen to her.”
Alex said it gradually dawned on him that Melanie’s unconventional way of living was offering him little future or stability.
He explained: “I’m not overly obsessed with money but from living the way we were living I want to have a decent home.
“I actually want a future because it’s no way to live.”
Alex believes his mum — who uses the pseudonym Rose — now plans to travel to Finland with friends to see the Northern Lights.
He said she had access to a car despite having no paperwork and could rely on a network of friends across France and Spain to help her evade the authorities.
He said: “She has friends everywhere and would often go off with them. One time for about seven months she left me with my grandad and just travelled around France visiting different places.”
Alex revealed that his mum held a strong “anti-government, anti-vax” belief system and believed most people were “slaves”.
Despite that, she owns a phone, though he does not have her number as he was not allowed one.
In stark contrast, Alex speaks lovingly of his grandad David, who he says was always willing to listen to him about his concerns about their eccentric lifestyle.
He said: “I love my grandad. I never knew my dad so my grandad and step-grandad have both raised me. Grandad Batty is a great guy. He’s just a lot more like your grandfather should be, teaching you lessons and listening to me.”
The SunAlex meditates in Morocco aged around seven[/caption]
The SunThe missing youngster in one of their communities with Melanie and David[/caption]
But he was keen to ensure his mum and grandad weren’t tracked down by police as he feared they could be arrested on suspicion of child abduction.
So he invented a story about walking for four days through the mountains to put French cops off the scent.
Alex confessed: “I’ve been lying to try and protect my mum and grandad but I realise that they’re probably gonna get caught anyway.
“I pretended I had been on such a long journey for that reason.”
Alex first walked south towards the town of Quillan.
He spent a freezing Monday night outside with no food and drinking from mountain springs.
He slept for a few hours in a woodland area next to the road before refuelling in Quillan on a tuna baguette.
Alex, who used the name Zack Edwards in France, waited until around 6pm before leaving the town because he was worried his mum might pass him in her car as he walked back to Chalabre.
Explaining his plan, he said: “To try and be clever I walked to Quillan then walked back.
I’m a very competent walker. I knew my way around the area so I knew where there were open springs so I could get water. I slept outside on the ground. It was freezing. If I needed the toilet I used leaves and grass.
“I did that so when I talked about asking for directions in Quillan and getting lost, it was half true. I didn’t get lost. I knew exactly where I was going. I just wanted to circle back for that to be a true story.
“I’m a very competent walker. I knew my way around the area so I knew where there were open springs so I could get water. I slept outside on the ground. It was freezing. If I needed the toilet I used leaves and grass.
“My plan was to get to Toulouse so that I could get as far away as possible.
“But I was so knackered when the delivery driver picked me up I just blurted out a story.
“I thought ‘Oh Zack, what have you done’. Zack was the name I used when someone asked me.
“I wasn’t even hitchhiking when he picked me up. I was walking across a little bridge.
“He said he stopped because he saw I had a skateboard. It was pouring with rain and pitch-black because it was 3am.
“I told him my story and I don’t think he actually believed me so he just carried on with his work.
“He was delivering parcels so I helped him because it’s the least I could do.
“He let me use his phone to get in contact with my grandma.
“After that he calls the police and a squad car nearby take me to the nearest police station.
“I’m in f***ing bits on the floor because I’m thinking ‘S**t I shouldn’t have said anything’. They fingerprinted me about five different times and were sending photos to my grandma.
“Two gendarmerie took me to another police station where I had a shower.
“I sat on the couch and relaxed a little bit until a English translator comes.
“On Wednesday I spent the night at a foster home and I stayed there Thursday and Friday.
“On Friday they told me I could fly home without a passport and on Saturday I got to Toulouse airport and my other grandad was waiting for me with two officers from Greater Manchester Police and my social worker.
“I was so happy to see him I gave him a big hug.”
Alex boarded a 5.04pm KLM flight to Amsterdam and connecting KLM flight 1081 which touched down in Manchester at 8.13pm.
Police then drove him to his gran’s for an emotional reunion.
Alex added: “When I got back to Manchester it was raining as usual.
“I was driven back to my gran’s house and I walked in the door and she’s in the living room.
“I started shaking and just gave her a massive hug. The house is different now but still feels the same. The biggest difference is when I left I was a boy but now I’m 6ft so I’m too big for the bed.
“It feels great to be back. I have got a lot of help from social services and the police and want to go to college.
“I understand a lot of French so I’m not going to let that go. I’m going to keep on studying.
“I want to do computer science or cyber security or blockchain development so I’m going to be very busy studying and catching up on things.”
Louis WoodAlex today, six years after vanishing[/caption]
PAAlex before he went missing[/caption]
How hol turned to getaway
ALEX Batty left England for a week’s holiday with his mum and grandad – and came back 2,269 days later.
Here’s how it happened:
SEPT 30, 2017: flew to Malaga and stayed in a luxury Marbella villa owned by a friend of Melanie’s.
OCT 7: trio hitched a ride 400 miles north to Benifairo de la Valldigna, near Valencia. They settle by Gandia.
AUTUMN 2021: they drive a campervan to France with no ID.
Alex and David stay at Gite de La Bastide, 25 miles east of Quillan. Melanie lives at a Camon site about an hour’s drive away.
DECEMBER: Alex and David join Melanie.
JANUARY 2022: they move to a campsite in Balesta.
MAY-SEPT 2023: in Montbel but Melanie also travels around France, leaving Alex with his grandad.
OCT: move to the Garden of Eden site near Villefort.
DEC 11: Alex walks out of a rented house they are staying in near Chalabre, leaving a goodbye note.
DEC 13: he is picked up at 3am walking along a road near the Ariege La Pibola campsite.
DEC 16: Alex returns to his gran’s home in Oldham.