A FAMILY today spoke of their relief after a young Newsome man was cleared of murder.
James Samuels, 22, was found not guilty of the murder of rugby player Mark Fisher, in Earlsheaton last September.
He was also found not guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The verdict yesterday at Leeds Crown Court ended a 13-month nightmare for Mr Samuels.
Now he and his family have vowed: "We can get on with our lives".
Mr Samuels' friend Kristienne Wood, 21, was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice by hiding the knife used to kill Mr Fisher.
Mr Fisher, 18, of Crown Close, Chickenley, died after being stabbed by Mr Samuels at the home of Miss Wood on September 22 last year.
Miss Wood and Mr Samuels worked together at the Birstall branch of Next and had become good friends, who helped each other over emotional difficulties.
But Mr Fisher, who was Miss Wood's ex-boyfriend, smashed his way through the patio doors and attacked Mr Samuels in a jealous rage, on hearing them in the house together.
Mr Samuels, of Littlewood Croft, Newsome, defended himself with a kitchen knife after being strangled and punched by Mr Fisher.
But Mr Fisher collapsed and died of his wounds after leaving the house in Woodburn Avenue, Earlsheaton, where Miss Wood lived with her parents.
The verdict came after 13 harrowing months for the defendants, their families and the relatives of Mr Fisher.
Mr Fisher's parents and friends left the court immediately after the verdict was delivered - one man in tears.
The mothers of Mr Samuels and Miss Wood embraced tearfully and Mr Samuels shook the hand of his legal team.
His mother, Mrs Sandra Gibson, said she had never doubted her son would be found innocent.
"It's a true verdict," she said.
"He told me about it straight away, the moment after it had happened.
"I always felt he would be acquitted.
"He did not change his story.
"Hopefully we can now get back to normal."
Her husband Phil, back at the family home later, said it had been a harrowing time for all three families involved.
The trial of Mr Samuels and Miss Wood was the third to take place.
Two previous trials had collapsed, which prolonged the agony for all concerned.
Det Sgt Graham Weldon, of Dewsbury police, said: "This was always going to be difficult because the young man who died broke into someone's house and that person retaliated.
"The jury, having considered the evidence put before them, have decided to find James Samuels not guilty.
"Samuels never denied that he was responsible for Mark Fisher's death but the decision by the jury was that he acted in self defence.
"This has been an extremely traumatic incident for the families.
"Mark has left behind an identical twin, Scott, who along with the rest of his family, has to try to move forward in respect of not only Mark's death but the verdict today."
Mr Fisher, a trainee road worker with Kirklees Highways Servcie, lived with his family.
On the day he died, he played his first match for Earlsheaton Central WMC.