Alex Batty’s mum in late night dash from remote hideaway in France hours after finding out teen was returning to UK

Alex Batty’s mum in late night dash from remote hideaway in France hours after finding out teen was returning to UK

THE mum of abducted teen Alex Batty told a friend she “had to leave” in a late-night dash from her remote ­hideaway in France — hours after finding out he was heading home to the UK.

Melanie fled the rented home after Alex reappeared following six years on the run in Europe.

Alex returned to the UK after going missing for six yearsLouis Wood – Commissioned by The Sun

The SunAlex Batty’s mum Melanie told a friend she ‘had to leave’ in a late-night dash after finding out her son was heading home to the UK[/caption]

The pungent smell of incense was still present in Melanie’s remote hideaway after she fled the rented propertyIan Whittaker – Commissioned by The Sun

She is believed to be travelling with a close Italian male friend who she calls her disciple — but vowed to her landlord: “I’ll be back.”

Melanie, 43, wrote in an email: “I’m so sorry but we had to leave in the middle of the night. I expect you’ve seen the news by now.”

She grabbed belongings including pet cat Sky after realising Alex, 17, was returning to Britain.

But suitcases full of clothes, Alex’s PlayStation game, a laptop computer, books, games, health food and milk were all abandoned in the Pyrenees property.

Alex left Britain aged 11 with his mum and grandad David, 64, in 2017 for what he believed was a week’s holiday in Spain.

He finally walked out on Monday, December 11, tired of the family’s hippy lifestyle and determined to get himself a proper education.

Alex is now back in Oldham, reunited with his grandma and legal guardian Susan Caruana, 68.

Melanie and her pal Fabrizio left the £480-a-month four-bed home in the hamlet Villefort, near Chalabre in the Aude, on Friday, December 15.

Landlord Tony Smith, 81, knew her as Rose, while David called himself Peter and Alex was Zack.

He said: “When Alex did a runner she must have just thought the game was up and it’s time to go.

“She started making plans as she paid me the rent two days before she went and she packed up and cleaned the whole house, putting all the belongings she was leaving behind in the attic.

“She took her tabby. She adored that cat, Sky.”

On December 16 Melanie sent Tony an email saying: “I’m so sorry but we had to leave in the middle of the night. I expect you’ve seen the news by now. I’ve left the keys on the bar.”

Alex’s PlayStation gaming console was abandoned in Melanie’s residence in the PyreneesIan Whittaker – Commissioned by The Sun

He said: “I hadn’t seen the news. I was told by a friend the next day.

“I had no clue what was going on and I was shocked that Rose was Melanie and Zack was Alex.

“I can’t find the keys anywhere. She left a lot of personal things and I think that’s why she is holding on to them — so she can come back and get her stuff.”

The pungent smell of incense was still in the air when Tony got to the property after Melanie left.

Last Wednesday she sent Tony another email saying: “One day I will return.”

Tony said: “She wants to come back. I’m sure. She was very well-liked.”

Tony — originally from Oldham like the Battys — spoke out after The Sun’s exclusive first interview with Alex.

He met Melanie last summer at a bar called Cafe de Sports in the small mountain town of Chalabre.

He said: “She would come into the town to do her shopping and then have a drink afterwards.

“She was talking to someone on her phone one afternoon and I thought ‘I know that accent’.

“I said ‘I know where you’re from’ and we just took to each other.”

In early November she confessed to him she needed a place to stay after being given “marching orders” from the commune she was with.

He said: “I was told she was ordered to leave. I had a place in a village nearby which I said she could move into but she would need to pay me and she agreed.”

Melanie moved into the converted cowshed on December 5.

Tony said: “At first it was just Melanie. Then she introduced me to Alex and David — her father.

“I knew them as Rose, Zack and Peter. David only stayed at the house a couple of times and Alex moved in later.

“Melanie brought David and Alex to meet me so I could give them a job doing up another house I own.

“I remember Alex asking me how he could get an education and I said to him it was very late to start — I suggested he join the army.”

Tony added: “She became quite a fanatic about all this spiritual stuff.

She called Fabrizio her disciple.”

He revealed Melanie has switched off her phone and is using email to talk to pals.

He said: “I don’t think she wanted to leave. She really tried to fit into the community and make a life for herself here.”

Another friend said Melanie contacted her to say she was “tired of running” but “felt like she had no choice”.

The pal said: “She thinks she’s on some kind of mission from God and she says she has given her life to a higher spirit.”

A neighbour said Melanie was last seen on Tuesday getting into a white car belonging to Fabrizio.

Tony said: “I think she’s in Spain now. Either that or she’s being helped by a commune.

“I’ve told her to turn herself in so all this can be resolved.

“She will be very short of money. She had given the last of her money to me to clear her debt which was decent of her.

“She’s a good person and I believe the only crime she’s committed is loving her son.”

Tony’s account comes after Alex said Melanie was “anti-government and anti-vax” and fond of using the phrase “slave to the system”.

Tony said Melanie appeared to be taken in by conspiracy theories and once revealed: “You don’t know how far and how deep this goes.”

He added: “She said it involved some people very high up. I just took it with a pinch of salt but I now think she was serious.

“All the French called her the computer lady as she was always on her laptop. I’m convinced she was writing a book.

“She was always at it and would never let me see it. It must have been all of the saga going on. She said it involved a ring of people.”

Alex told The Sun that he had clashed with his mum over her hippy lifestyle.

He said: “She’s a great person and I love her but she’s just not a great mum.

“I had an argument with my mum and I just thought I’m gonna leave because I can’t live with her.”

Greater Manchester Police are treating his case as abduction.

A suitcase full of a laptop computer was also left thereIan Whittaker – Commissioned by The Sun

Ian Whittaker – Commissioned by The SunThe exterior of the abandoned property[/caption]

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