Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been acquitted of the murder of UK student Meredith Kercher following a successful appeal in Perugia, Italy.
Miss Knox, 24, and her ex-boyfriend Mr Sollecito, 27, had spent nearly four years in jail since they were convicted of killing the 21-year-old, from Coulsdon, south London, in 2007.
American Miss Knox sobbed as the judge said the pair would walk free.
Her family said she “suffered for four years for a crime she did not commit”.
Speaking on the steps of the court, Miss Knox’s sister Deanna said: “We are thankful to the court for having the courage to look for the truth and to overturn this conviction.”
She also asked for privacy for her family to recover from “this horrible ordeal”.
Hundreds of people had gathered in the streets outside the court ahead of the verdict and some shouted “shame” when they heard about the decision.
Inside the court, Miss Kercher’s brother Lyle and sister Stephanie comforted each other as they remained seated in the courtroom with their mother Arline.
Earlier, Miss Knox, who is serving 26 years in jail for the killing, was given a final chance to state her case in a personal statement and she told a packed courtroom she was “paying with her life”.
Tearful, and speaking in fluent Italian, the American said: “I did not kill, I did not rape, I did not steal. I was not there.”
She added: “I want to go back home. I want to go back to my life. I don’t want to be punished. I don’t want my life and my future to be taken away for something I didn’t do because I am innocent.”
Her ex-boyfriend Mr Sollecito, who was given a 25-year term, told the court in his statement that he was in a “nightmare” and said the claims against him were “totally untrue”.
Ahead of the verdict, Miss Kercher’s family, who are in Perugia for the decision, said they would always find it difficult to forgive her killers.
Prosecutors had said they would appeal if the verdict is overturned. They had called for Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito’s sentences to be increased to life in prison.
Miss Kercher had been sharing a cottage in Perugia with Miss Knox, who is originally from Seattle, during a year abroad from Leeds University when she was murdered.
Prosecutors said she was killed in a brutal sex game which went wrong. Her throat had been slit and she had been sexually assaulted.
A third person – Rudy Guede, 24 – was also convicted of Miss Kercher’s murder in a separate trial and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
His conviction was upheld on appeal but his sentence reduced to 16 years.