1. ITV Report

Alex Batty: Missing 12-year-old feared to have been abducted by mum to live on commune abroad

Alex Batty, who turns 12 today, may have been abducted by his mother and grandfather. Credit: Oldham Times/PA Wire

The grandmother of a missing schoolboy has said she believes her daughter and ex-husband have taken him to live an "alternative lifestyle" abroad.

Police are appealing for news of Alex Batty, 12, after he failed to return home from a holiday to Spain in October with his mother Melanie Batty, 37, and his grandfather David Batty, 58.

His grandmother and legal guardian, Susan Caruana, said she got a YouTube message from the group on the day Alex was due return home to Alexandra in Oldham saying he would not be coming back.

I got this message on Facebook and it was a YouTube video of the three of them.

They all spoke on it and Melanie said the reasons why they had done what they had done.

Alex said it was a million times better being with his mum and granddad. Obviously it hurt me a bit but then my other concerns kicked in.

The reason I believe they have done this is because basically my lifestyle, my belief systems, are not what they agree with - just simply living day to day, how normal people do.

They didn't want him to go to school, they don't believe in mainstream school.

– Susan Caruana

Ms Caruna said her daughter - who does not have currently have parental guardianship - had previously lived an "alternative lifestyle" on a Moroccan commune together with Alex and Mr Batty in 2014.

She believes they are hoping to return to a similar arrangement.

It appears the trio may have tried to sail from Port of Malaga to Morocco on 8 October 2017, the day Alex was due to return home.

Despite extensive inquiries, the youngster has not been seen since.

Mrs Caruna issued a direct appeal to Alex, who turns 12 today, to get in touch.

"I just want to say to my grandson Alex, I love you so much and please, please just get in contact," she said.

Alex's mother Melanie Batty, 37, and his grandfather David Batty, 58. Credit: Oldham Times/PA Wire

Police say they do not believe the schoolboy is at risk of immediate harm, but they are concerned about his welfare and want to bring him home to his guardian, his grandmother Susan.

Detective Sergeant Pete Morley, from GMP’s Oldham borough, said his there were concerns over Alex's welfare and it was not clear how the family group were funding themselves.

"It’s Alex’s 12th birthday today and instead of being at home with his grandmother and friends, we don’t know where he is," he said.

"His grandmother Susan is beside herself with worry. She’s gone from seeing Alex every day to not hearing off him for months. She misses him terribly and is desperate to know he is alright."

He added: "I understand this is an emotive situation but ultimately Alex should be at home in Oldham and there are genuine concerns about his welfare."

Anyone with information can police on 0161 856 8972 (+44 161 856 8972 if you are abroad) or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.