Alex Batty – the British teenager found in France after going missing for six years – has reportedly told journalists he is “glad to be home for Christmas”.
He was 11 when he went on holiday with his mother Melanie Batty – who does not have legal parental guardianship – and his grandfather, David Batty, in 2017, and never returned.
Alex, now 17, was found on Wednesday after a delivery driver offered him a lift near Toulouse.
This weekend, he was reunited with family back in the UK – thought to include his grandmother and legal guardian, Susan Caruana.
He told journalists on Monday that he was “glad to be home for Christmas”, according to reports in several British newspapers.
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Missing British teen fled from mother On Sunday, Assistant Chief Constable Matt Boyle of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed Alex had returned to the UK.
“Earlier, Alex met with a family member alongside Greater Manchester Police officers at Toulouse airport, before heading back to the UK,” he said on Sunday.
“This moment is undoubtedly huge for him and his loved ones and we are glad that they have been able to see each other again after all this time.”
Alex found ‘walking alone’
Alex was found by chiropractic student Fabien Accidini while walking alone near Toulouse in the early hours of Wednesday.
Image: Fabien Accidini, who found Alex Batty Ms Caruana, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, said on Friday: “I cannot begin to express my relief and happiness that Alex has been found safe and well.
“I spoke with him last night and it was so good to hear his voice and see his face again. I can’t wait to see him when we’re reunited.
“The main thing is that he’s safe, after what would be an overwhelming experience for anyone, not least a child.”
She asked for privacy as the family welcomed Alex back.
Read more from Sky News:
Alex fled ‘because mum wanted to take him to Finland’
What really happened after he vanished?
Man who found him says Alex ‘wants to live normal life’
It is thought Alex had been living an “alternative” lifestyle with his mother and grandfather across Spain, Morocco and France while he was missing.
French officials said he decided to leave when his mother wanted to go to Finland.
Mr Accidini said the teenager told him he had been hiking in nearby mountains for more than four days in an attempt to return to England.
On Friday, French prosecutors said the teenager’s mother, Melanie Batty, who is wanted in connection with his disappearance, may be in Finland, while his grandfather David Batty has died.
Image: Alex Batty’s grandmother, Susan Caruana, pictured in 2017 Prosecutor Antoine Leroy said Alex had said he knew his way of life with his mother “had to stop” after she announced an intention to move to Finland.
This led him to walk for “four days and four nights” across the Pyrenees, Mr Leroy said.
Alex was described as “tired” but “in good health” after being checked over by French officials and seemed “intelligent” even though he had not attended school for six years.
The prosecutor also said the boy did not appear to have been subjected to any physical violence.