Missing UK teen found in France returned for better ‘future’

Missing UK teen found in France returned for better ‘future’
Missing UK teen found in France returned for better ‘future’

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - This photo taken in Camps sur Agly, on December 18, 2023, shows a general view of the Camps sur Agly village, where Alex Batty and his family were seen regularly. — AFP pic

LONDON, Dec 22 — A UK teen who resurfaced in France six years after going missing, has told a newspaper that he decided to return to Britain because he wanted a better future.

Alex Batty, 17, had disappeared while in Spain with his mother and grandfather in October 2017 but turned up in a mountainous area of southern France last week.

Batty told the Sun tabloid in an interview published on Friday that he had chosen to leave the pair after becoming fed up of drifting around Europe with them.

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“I realised it wasn’t a great way to live for my future,” said the teenager, who is back under the legal guardianship of his maternal grandmother in Oldham, northern England.

“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.”

Batty was found walking near Toulouse by a delivery driver earlier this month. He was in good health.

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The teenager told French investigators that he had lived in a “spiritual community” and never stayed more than several months in the same place.

“She’s a great person and I love her but she’s just not a great mum,” Batty told the Sun, referring to his mother Melanie Batty.

He added that she was “anti-government, anti-vax” whose catchphrase was “becoming a slave to the system”.

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

He told the newspaper that his grandfather, David Batty, was still alive, after French investigators reported that he had died six months ago.

Batty also said he had only been walking for two days when he was found, not the four that he had told French police.

He said he lied to investigators to try to protect his mother, who he believes is planning to go to Finland, and his grandfather.

Batty added that he was going to be “busy studying and catching up,” and that he hopes to eventually work in the technology sector. — AFP

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