ALEX Batty was just 14 when he realised he didn’t want to live the hippy lifestyle his mum had chosen for him before making a midnight dash to escape years later.
Now 17, Alex said his mum didn’t want him to be a “slave to the system”, instead moving him between homes across Europe for six years.
Louis Wood – The SunAlex Batty, now 17, pictured six years after his disappearance[/caption]
Alex’s mum Melanie (pictured in her 30s) didn’t want him to live a normal life
Louis WoodAlex has been reunited with his gran Susan in the UK (pictured)[/caption]
But the Manchester United fan had dreams about working with computers and wanted to get a formal education.
He hadn’t attended school in six years, and even tried desperately to enrol in one in France this year.
Mum Melanie, who was “anti-government” and “anti-vax”, wanted him to live a nomadic life with her.
Alex told The Sun: “She’s a great person and I love her but she’s just not a great mum“.
Eventually the pair had an argument and Alex decided to flee, returning home to England to be reunited with his grandmother Susan.
He said: “I had an argument with my mum and I just thought I’m gonna leave because I can’t live with her.”
He had confided in his grandad at age 16 about his hopes of returning to England.
“My mum was against the idea. She was very anti-government, anti-vax,” the youngster said.
“She was worried that if I were to go back to a country and get my ID I would be put into care.
“Her catchphrase was becoming a ‘slave to the system’.”
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
Alex remained in France and managed to convince mum Melanie to rent out a farmhouse closer to civilisation, rather than living in the mountains.
But he said he had grown tired of constantly moving homes and working alongside grandad David in exchange for food and rent.
He had only made one friend his age, and his education came from trying to study maths, languages and computing when he could get his hands on a textbook.
Eventually his desire to live a normal life led him to write a note to his mum and leave in the middle of the night on December 11 as she slept.
Alex trekked for 22 miles over two days before a student delivery driver spotted him carrying a skateboard along a road at 3am and stopped.
He later told the lorry driver who picked him up: “My mother kidnapped me when I was 12 years old”.
Alex told The Sun: “I first started thinking about leaving when I was 14 or 15.
“I realised it wasn’t a great way to live for my future. The cloud had lifted because I started weighing everything up again — the pros and cons of England.
“I wouldn’t know what was going to happen in my future if I were to stay with my mum, but from the past few years I could get a picture of what life would have been like.
“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.
“It would always be the same whether it was France or Spain.
“In the mountains, in the middle of nowhere. No people my age.
“She wasn’t really open to any other opinions whereas grandad is more of a listener.”
Alex finally returned home to Oldham, Greater Manchester, last weekend and was reunited with his overjoyed gran Susan Caruana.
She was distraught when he vanished on a holiday with Melanie in David in Spain, age 11, not to be seen again.
Yesterday a judge ruled that Alex would remain under special legal protection as a ward of the court with Susan as his guardian.
The teen, who turns 18 in just two months, plans to keep studying French and computer science while pursuing his dreams of software engineering.
Alex pictured with his grandad
The SunAlex (left) in one of their hippy communities with Melanie and David[/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.