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French couple who took missing Alex Batty in say he became 'part of their family'

French couple who took missing Alex Batty in say he became 'part of their family'

Frederic Hambye and Ingrid Beauve claimed they were completely unaware of Alex's true identity and were told that his name was 'Zach'.

The French couple who took in Alex Batty have said he became a 'part of the family' after staying at their farmhouse over the last few years.

The missing Brit, now aged 17, reportedly arrived at the guesthouse in guesthouse in Camps-sur-l'Agly with his mother Melanie and grandfather David two years ago.

He had first disappeared in 2017 after going on holiday with the pair - neither of whom were his legal guardians - to Marbella, Spain, while his grandmother and legal guardian, Susan Caruan, has had no idea of his whereabouts.

It has since emerged that Alex had been staying at an isolated farm before he was found in Revel, near Toulouse, by lorry driver Fabien Accidini on 14 December.

The chiropractic care student spotted the teenager while he was was doing night deliveries for local pharmacies in the area.

The 26-year-old told ITV that he 'picked him up on the side of the road' after spotting the lad roaming around, saying he was 'confused' and 'tired'.

Alex has since been reunited with his family back in the UK, six years after he went missing.

Now, the couple who took him under their wing have released a statement explaining how he came to live with them.

Alex Batty went missing six years ago.

Frederic Hambye and Ingrid Beauve claimed they were completely unaware of his true identity and were told that his name was 'Zach'.

They said his mother did not stay at the farmhouse because she was 'looking for a place to live' in a spiritual community, while Alex stayed 'on and off' at the property in the Pyrenees mountains.

Mr Hambye and Ms Beauve said in their joint statement: "He stayed with us for some longer or shorter periods. He left several times to join his mother in her successive places of residence between Aude and Ariege."

The pair had agreed to give Alex accommodation in exchange for him doing chores in their garden and kitchen, as he 'loved to cook'.

But the teen also apparently got on well with the couple's children and joined the family on cycling adventures and trips to the beach.

The hosts added: "As time went on we saw him as part of our family and we think he appreciated the stability and security we represented for him."

The teenager has now been reunited with his family in the UK.

They insisted he had his own room, unlimited free internet at his disposal and was 'completely free to come and go as he pleased.'

Mr Hambye and Ms Beauve claimed they urged Alex to learn French and to restart his studies by finding 'a school where he could be admitted without prior education'.

Their statement continued: "He was eager to go to school and get back to a normal life – and for that he needed his ID which he told us he no longer had.

"When we learned that he did not have an ID, we offered to drive him to the British consulate.

“He told us he would find a way to return to the UK on his own to get new [identity] papers and go back to school. To this end, he told us, he left to join his mother.”

The whereabouts of Melanie is currently unknown, although French prosecutors believe she could be in Finland.

According to reports, Alex's granddad David is thought to have died around six months ago.

Greater Manchester Police said on Saturday night the force had yet to establish the full circumstances of Alex’s disappearance and whether or not a criminal investigation would be opened.

Featured Image Credit: Handout / GMP

Topics: UK News, World News