A U.K. teen who resurfaced in France six years after going missing when he was 11 years old, has told a newspaper that he decided tobecause he wanted a better future. , now 17, also said that he lied about the details of his escape to protect his mother and grandfather from police.
Batty had disappeared while in Spain with his mother and grandfather in October 2017 butin 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.
“I realized 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.
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.
“I knew exactly where I was going”
Batty also said he had only been walking for two days when he was found, not the four that he had told French police.
Batty was picked up by a delivery driver who spotted him on a road in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, near Toulouse, the BBC reported. The driver, French student Fabien Accidini, said the teen had told him he had been walking in the Pyrenees for four days and four nights, sleeping by day and walking by night.
But Batty told the Sun he lied to investigators to try to protect his mother, who he believes is planning to go to Finland, and his grandfather.
“I’ve been lying to try and protect my mum and grandad but I realize that they’re probably gonna get caught anyway,” he told The Sun.
“I didn’t get lost. I knew exactly where I was going,” he added.
Batty added that he was going to be “busy studying and catching up,” and that he hopes to eventually work in the technology sector.