Alex Batty’s mum ‘is Covid-19 conspiracy theorist & therapeutic massage therapist’ who we knew as Rose, pals say

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ALEX Batty’s mum has been labelled a Covid-19 conspiracy theorist who didn’t believe the deadly virus was a real thing and “created by the state,” according to her pals.

Melanie, also introduced herself as Rose – a therapeutic massage therapist – to those around her as the woman remains on the run from police after her son was safely found in France.

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Alex Batty’s mum Melanie was known as Rose according to friends and neighbours and was a therapeutic massage therapistCredit: PA:Press Association
Pal Susie Harrison dubbed Melanie a 'conspiracy theorist' who believed 'Covid-19 was not real' and that it was 'created by the state to control the people'

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Pal Susie Harrison dubbed Melanie a ‘conspiracy theorist’ who believed ‘Covid-19 was not real’ and that it was ‘created by the state to control the people’Credit: AFP

The 43-year-old lived at the La Forte campsite in an American-style campervan where she stayed for months and was seen spending hours at her computer everyday.

The owner of the campsite, who asked not to be identified, said: “She arrived in May and left without warning at the end of September.

“She called herself Rose and I have only recently discovered she was the mother of the missing boy.

“I saw the woman from time to time and she said ‘Bonjour’. But she does not speak French and I do not speak English so we did not communicate other than that.

“She would spend all day tapping away on her computer. I don’t know what she was doing but that was what she did all day.

“I told her I was going to cut the hot water to the toilet block at the end of September. She left about that time.

According to the man, Melanie hasn’t returned in over two months and no one has seen her around since she vanished.

After arriving in France back in 2021, Melanie went off to live in a “spiritual community”, while Alex lived in Fred Hambye and Ingrid Beauve’s gite (cottage) – where his grandad worked as a handyman.

Alex went by the name Zach as he worked with the French couple in return for food and accomodation with his grandad.

Her pal, Susie Harrison, last saw Melanie a few weeks ago and has recently dubbed her a “conspiracy theorist”.

Susie said: “She believed Covid-19 was not real, that it was created by the state to control the people.

“I don’t know what she did for money, but I know she gave therapeutic massages.

“She really wanted to set up a spiritual community here in the south of France.”

“If I see Rose, I’ll ask her, but maybe they’re on the run now for having been illegally in France all this time.”

Relative Stephen Devine, a cousin of Melanie, also had strong opinions on the woman.

He told The Sun: “Alex’s mum was involved in a cult.

“His grandma became his guardian but then his mum … and grandfather offered to take him on holiday for a week and they were never seen again.

“It is going to be a big adjustment for him. He’s probably grown up without a formal education.”

Family friends have claimed his mum and grandad had become obsessed with cult-like ideas and abandoned their normal lives in Greater Manchester to fight ‘the establishment’, the banks and bailiffs.

Alex was picked up in pouring rain by a lorry driver at 3am on Wednesday 30 miles from the gite.

He was carrying a rucksack and skateboard and claimed he hiked for four days across the foothills of the Pyrenees.

But according to Google Maps, the trek should have taken 11 hours or quicker with his skateboard.

The boy finally returned to the home of his grandmother and legal guardian Susan Caruana, 68, in Oldham, Greater Manchester on Saturday evening after escaping the French commune.

He told reporters: “I’m just happy to be home for Christmas.”

He had been missing for more than six years when he was found.

Toulouse assistant public prosecutor Antoine Leroy said: “It is possible that the mother has gone to Finland as she planned. The grandfather, who has always been with his daughter and grandson, is said to have died around six months ago.”

Describing Alex’s lifestyle over the past six years, Mr Leroy said: “They would work on the ego, there was meditation work — there was no connection with the real world. They believed in reincarnation.”

Mr Leroy said Alex was tired but in good health after being reunited with his guardians, adding: “He’s said to be intelligent even though he’s never been to school in this period.

“He doesn’t describe any kind of physical violence, without talking about emotional violence. We can’t use the term ‘sect’ as such but he talks of a spiritual community.”

Mr Leroy suggested the group were fascinated by solar panels, and that Melanie has a fear of them.

He added: “They were travelling from house to house with solar panels. They only used car-sharing, they didn’t have their own vehicle.”

A young Alex Batty - now 17 - was found safe in France after his mother abducted him in 2017

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A young Alex Batty – now 17 – was found safe in France after his mother abducted him in 2017Credit: PA
Public prosecutor Antoine Leroy said it's possible that Melanie has fled to Finland - where she planned to take Alex before he ventured off on his own

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Public prosecutor Antoine Leroy said it’s possible that Melanie has fled to Finland – where she planned to take Alex before he ventured off on his ownCredit: AFP





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