The mother of the hacker whose extradition to the US was blocked by Home Secretary Theresa May has called the ruling a "win for the little person".

Janis Sharp, mother of 46-year-old Gary McKinnon, described the 10-year-battle against her son's extradition as an "emotional rollercoaster". She said she was overwhelmed and happy at the ruling.

She praised May as "incredibly brave [to stand up to a] strong and powerful nation like America".

When asked how her son reacted to the news, she told reporters: "We just hugged and cried. He felt like he was a dead person. He had no job, he didn't go on holiday... he felt worthless.

"It was very good to see him smile for the first time in many years."

She also thanked the Daily Mail editor, Paul Dacre, and the paper's journalists James Slack and Michael Seamark for their support over the years.

McKinnon's extradation to the US to face charges relating to computer hacking was dropped after medical evidence suggested that McKinnon, who has Asperger's syndrome, would attempt suicide if he was sent to the US.

He admitted to hacking into US government and military websites from his bedroom in north London but claimed he was only doing so to look for evidence of UFOs.

May decided to block extradition on the grounds of McKinnon's mental health, deciding that his human rights would be infringed.

She told MPs: "Mr McKinnon is accused of serious crimes but there is no doubt he is also seriously ill. He has Asperger's syndrome and suffers from depressive illness.

"After careful consideration of all the relevant material, I have concluded that Mr McKinnon's extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite him would be incompatible with [his] human rights."

McKinnon's lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald QC, said that the ruling in his client's favour was only possible because of the Human Rights Act.

Biggest military computer hack of all time

McKinnon's solicitor, Karen Todner, described the decision as a great day for British justice.

The Glasgow-born hacker faced 60 years in jail if convicted for what was described by US authorities as "the biggest military computer hack of all time".

His local MP, David Burrowes, who threatened to resign if the extradition went ahead, welcomed the decision.

He said: "Today is a victory for compassion, and pre-election promises being kept."

Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty, said that it was rare for her to thank the home secretary

"This is a great day for rights, freedoms and justice in the United Kingdom," she said.

"The home secretary has spared this vulnerable man the cruelty of being sent to the US and accepted Liberty's long-standing argument for change to our rotten extradition laws."

London mayor Boris Johnson said: "At last, justice and the wellbeing of Mr McKinnon have prevailed.

"I have long supported Gary's right to be tried here in the UK.

"To extradite a man diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome to America for trial would have been extraordinarily cruel and inhumane. I applaud the government's stance.

"If they had approved extradition, they'd have been saying that extradition on any grounds was okay. It's not."