A friend of the Guy family says the hunt for the killer of Scott Guy and the subsequent court case has been like a horror movie.
After a month-long trial at the High Court in Wellington, a jury on Tuesday found Ewen Macdonald not guilty of the murder of Mr Guy, his brother-in-law, in July 2010.
As the verdict was delivered Mr Guy's widow Kylee ran from the court screaming: "He killed my husband" followed by members of her family.
Helen Warboys, who is also Feilding promotions manager, told Nine to Noon the community is still wondering how this could have happened to such a nice local family.
"This is like a horror movie. It's something that you would never imagine in anybody's lifetime let alone in a small community like ours."
Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie said people in the Feilding district were not surprised by the verdict, and in the last week had come to the conclusion there was unlikely to be a solution provided by the court.
Manawatu mayor Margaret Kouvelis hoped the Guy and Macdonald families will now return home and be given space and privacy.
"We are going to continue to support both families, as we have done for the past two years.
"We hope that now they can come home, retreat and find some solace in being back within this community, which has been upholding them throughout the whole process."
Macdonald to be sentenced on other charges
Ewen Macdonald is still to be sentenced for other offences following his acquittal.
During the trial, the jury saw a videoed police interview with Ewen Macdonald in which he admitted stealing two deer from a neighbour, an arson attack on property belonging to Scott and Kylee Guy and the vandalism of their new home.
Justice France remanded him in custody until 31 July when he will appear in the Palmerston North District Court for a date to be set for the sentencing on those matters.
Guy family lives altered forever
Outside court on Tuesday, Scott Guy's father said the family was now left wondering who was responsible for the death of their son.
"This verdict does not bring Scott back. It does not restore a father to his son, or a husband to his wife, it does not restore a son and brother to his family," Bryan Guy said.
He said the family's lives had been altered forever, with the pain of their broken hearts sometimes too much to bear.
"We've learnt what is important is a father to his children, and although that father cannot be replaced, we know that with strong community and family support and values that there is hope for the future."
While Bryan Guy spoke his daughter, Anna Macdonald, who is Ewen Macdonald's wife, stood visibly upset with her head on her father's shoulder, her eyes red with tears.
In his statement Mr Guy thanked the community for their generosity and love since the killing and during the trial, saying it has reminded the family that the world is full of good people.