ALEX Batty was made to work from the age of 14 to support his mum and grandad abroad after they allegedly kidnapped him in 2017.
Louis WoodAlex Batty pictured six years after his disappearance[/caption]
EnterpriseAlex was forced to work from 14 to help support his mum and grandad (pictured)[/caption]
The SunAlex fled with his skateboard and a rucksack on December 11[/caption]
In a world exclusive The Sun spoke with Alex and his grandmother for the first time since his homecoming.
Alex revealed he was forced to work from 14 as he had to help his mum and grandad to afford “everyday purchases” until he made his escape.
He told The Sun: “I started working at around 14, 14-and-a-half, to help the family with everyday purchases until I left for England.”
Alex described the manual labour jobs he did to earn money while living in France with his mum.
“It was a lot of construction work, demolition work, decoration work, painting walls, renovation work.
“I worked as a sous-chef for a few months which was fun, spent a lot of time in the kitchen washing pots, all sorts of stuff really.”
Alex told The Sun that for the first few years after his alleged abduction, he had more freedom.
“For the first few years from 11 to maybe 14 it was like a vacation, mostly. It was waking up in the morning, reading, drawing, doing whatever I wanted, really.
“That was until around 14, when I needed to start picking up my own slack, work to help with food, rent, buy clothes for myself, just necessities really.
“Just things everybody needs.”
It comes as…
He revealed the heartbreaking note he left his mum in the middle of the night before he made his escape
The Brit teen revealed where his mum really is and that his grandad is alive
And he delivered an emotional message to his mum and grandad following his return to the UK
As Alex and Susan spoke with The Sun, the youngster revealed more about his midnight dash for freedom in the rain and sleeping on the street.
He explained the hopes he has for what’s next now he’s back in the UK, and why he fled.
During the touching interview, Alex explained more about where he’d been living and what his life was like during the six years he was abroad.
And he described what he wrote in the heartbreaking note he left for his mum saying goodbye before his escape.
His grandmother told The Sun she was devastated after she realised he wasn’t coming home and said how happy she is to have him home.
She is said to have forced him to live in a “spiritual” commune after he did not return home to the UK following a holiday to Spain with his mum and grandad David.
His grandmother and legal guardian Susan Caruana, 68, was distraught when Melanie told her 11-year-old Alex would be living with them abroad.
Days ago it emerged that the British teen should have been found five months ago alongside his mother – but French police were on strike and apparently failed to act.
Alex apparently turned up at prestigious IT college in Perpignan, in the South of France, last July.
Teachers at Ecole 42 (School 42) were impressed by his online application, which included passing a computer exam “with flying colours”.
But there were concerned by his profile, especially as he was using fake personal details.
Géro Vigney, the school’s director, passed on the information to police who said they would investigate – but nothing came of it.
During his years abroad, Alex had been living under a fake name with a french family.
He reportedly first arrived at the family’s home in 2021 and confided in them about his wish to live a “normal life”.
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.
Alex’s mum Melanie, would allegedly leave her teenage son there while she was “looking for a place to live” in a spiritual community.
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.
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.
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.