Italy’s highest court has overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case.
“Finished!” Ms Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova exulted after the decision was read out. “It couldn’t be better than this.”
The decision by the supreme Court of Cassation is the final ruling in the case, ending the long legal battle waged by Ms Knox and Italian co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito.
Both Ms Knox, who was awaiting the verdict in her US hometown of Seattle, and Mr Sollecito have long maintained their innocence in the death of British student Meredith Kercher.
The supreme Court of Cassation overturned last year’s convictions by a Florence appeals court, and declined to order another trial.
The decision means the judges, after thoroughly examining the case, concluded that a conviction could not be supported by the evidence.
Their reasoning will be released within 90 days.
The case has aroused strong interest in three countries for its explosive mix of young love, murder and flip-flop decisions by Italian courts.
Ms Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found dead on November 2, 2007, in the flat that she shared with Ms Knox and two other students. Her throat was slashed and she had been sexually assaulted.
Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were arrested a few days later. Eventually another man, Rudy Guede from Ivory Coast, was arrested, tried and convicted of the murder in a separate trial and is serving a 16-year sentence.
The couple maintained their innocence, insisting that they had spent the evening together at Mr Sollecito’s place watching a movie, smoking marijuana and making love.
Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were initially convicted by a Perugia court in 2009, then acquitted and freed in 2011, and then convicted again in 2014 in Florence after the Cassation court overturned the acquittals and ordered a new appeals trial.
That Florence appeals conviction was overturned today.
I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy.
The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal. And throughout this ordeal, I have received invaluable support from family, friends, and strangers.
To them, I say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your kindness has sustained me. I only wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person.
We want to express our profound gratitude to all of those who have supported Amanda and our family.
Countless people - from world-renowned DNA experts, to former FBI agents, to everyday citizens committed to justice - have spoken about her innocence.
We are thrilled with and grateful for today's decision from the Supreme Court of Italy. And we are grateful beyond measure for all that so many of you have done for her.