The Irish woman who was convicted of raping a married woman in Australia has had the criminal charges against her dropped and is expected to return to Ireland later this week.
Anne Marie O'Loughlin (26) originally from Edenderry, Co Offaly, was found guilty in 2010 and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for the digital rape of a 34-year-old woman in the toilet of a Brisbane hotel.
Earlier this month a court ordered a retrial and released the Offaly woman from prison after she successfully won her appeal.
However it has emerged that the charges have been “formally dropped” which means the Irish woman is free to leave Australia, where she had been working as nurse. It is understood the alleged victim withdrew the charges this past weekend.
Speaking from Ireland, her family spoke of the relief upon hearing the news.
"This was a terrible miscarriage of justice and we always knew that deep down," Seamus O'Loughlin told the Herald.
"Anne Marie is over the moon but also very emotional after weeks of absolute hell."
"She has a few things to sort out with Immigration and she has to make an appearance in court to formalise everything. But she is so excited about coming home. We have been receiving so many messages of support, it's unbelievable.
"This has been a living hell for all of us. We just want Anne Marie to come home now where she can begin a new chapter in her life."