First pictures of Alex Batty's mother and grandfather in France
EXCLUSIVE First pictures of missing Alex Batty’s mother and grandfather living together as a family in France before the teen reappeared
- Melanie Batty and her father David pictured outside bar in Pyrenees in June
This is the first image of the mother and grandfather alleged to have abducted schoolboy Alex Batty living together as a family in the south of France.
Melanie Batty and her father David were pictured looking relaxed outside a bar in a village square in the Pyrenees mountains in June this year with Alex and a group of their friends.
The off-grid trio who were being sought by the British authorities after Alex disappeared six years ago had made a trip to a weekly market in Esperaza, which is popular with members of alternative communities they associated with.
Dressed in a white summer dress with her hair tied up and wearing sunglasses and sandals, Melanie Batty looks like any tourist in the south of France.
Sitting next to her in a black t-shirt, combat trousers and trainers is her son Alex. He appears like any teenager, slightly bored but listening as the adults chat.
On the other side, wearing a white goatee beard, denim shirt and with sunglasses on his head is her father, David, 64.
Dressed in a white summer dress with her hair tied up and wearing sunglasses and sandals, Melanie Batty looks like any tourist in the south of France. Sitting next to her in a black t-shirt, combat trousers and trainers is her son Alex. He appears like any teenager, slightly bored but listening as the adults chat. On the other side, wearing a white goatee beard, denim shirt and with sunglasses on his head is her father, David, 64
Pictured: Fugitive mother Melanie Batty (dressed in white) sitting next to her father David Batty (in denim shirt) and her son Alex Batty (in Black T-shirt) at the Esperaza market in June 2023
Behind the British family a street performer plays her guitar and sings to the many tourists who flock to the popular Sunday market
Alex, from Oldham, was 11 when he did not return from a holiday to Spain with his mother Melanie, then 37, and grandfather David, then 58, in 2017. He has now returned to the UK after six years
Behind the British family a street performer plays her guitar and sings to the many tourists who flock to the popular Sunday market.
But behind her blonde locks, 43-year-old Batty was hiding the secret of the kidnapping of her own son and their six-year-life on the run.
READ MORE: Inside Garden of Eden community where Alex Batty’s mother Melanie lived before she mysteriously vanished: Eco-conscious group live in tents and ramshackle huts and hold festivals through the summer
Adopting the name Rose, she lived an itinerant life, giving her son the name Zac, and dragging him around Spain, Morocco before settling in the south of France two years ago.
Supported by her father, Batty was in search of a ‘spiritual life’ and told how she wanted to set up an alternative community with like-minded people.
However, she has also revealed a little about her reasons for fleeing Britain and taking her son on the run.
French police are understood to have concluded that his grandfather had recently died and his mother had moved to Finland after he was rescued by a lorry driver on a road south of Toulouse last week.
But recent sightings suggest reports of David’s death and Melanie’s disapperance may be incorrect with an alternative theory now emerging that both mother and grandfather have fled across the border to Spain ‘to get away from the attention’ surrounding Alex re-emergence.
A friend explained: ‘Rose, as we knew Melanie,has fled. She’s long gone. She’s gone to Spain.
‘I think [her father] Peter has gone with her. She wanted to get away from all the attention.
‘Rose, her dad and Zac are a nice family but always a bit cautious.
‘I don’t know the full extent of their story, but it was not for nothing that they fled Britain.
‘Rose said took her son out of a bad situation and protected him as much as she could for as long as she could.
‘She would mention odd things about her past.
‘She said the life they were living in England before was hell.’
Alex Batty (pictured left) with his mother Melanie (centre) and grandfather David (right) six years ago
He added: ‘Zac is a lovely young man. He is always willing to help and to learn.
‘It was the perfect time for him to leave his mum, to spread his wings.
‘She has done a good job protecting him.
‘But it’s good that he’s gone back.’
Alex Batty disappeared in 2017 when he failed to return to Britain from a pre-arranged trip to Spain with mother Melanie and grandfather David.
Greater Manchester Police put out a missing persons alert for the youngster who was 11 at the time.
Alex, now aged 17, was reunited with his grandmother Susan Caruana, who is his legal guardian, in Oldham, on Saturday night.
He had been living at a remote farmhouse in the hamlet of La Bastide with his grandfather who worked as a handyman since the autumn of 2021.
He was cared for by the French family that owned the farmhouse, and was considered as part of the family.
But Alex wanted to return to the UK to get identity documents so that he could study computer science at school.
Greater Manchester Police are currently considering whether to launch a criminal investigation into his disappearance.
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