A French woman who murdered her husband after decades of abuse has been released from prison after being given a full pardon by President Francois Hollande. Jacqueline Sauvage, now 69, had been serving a 10-year sentence for shooting husband Norbert Marot in 2012.

She became a cause célèbre among domestic violence campaigners after it emerged the killing was the culmination of more than 40 years of violent abuse from her alcoholic partner, which included her being raped, beaten and threatened.

The couple's son, who Sauvage said was also abused, had been found hanged a day before the killing, while the couple's three daughters later testified their father had sexually abused them as well.

Sauvage was sentenced to ten years in prison for murder having been found guilty in October 2014 after the state rejected her plea of self-defence.

The group Osez le Feminisme (Dare to be Feminist) called for the definition of self-defence to be expanded in cases of "female victims of violence", while more than 400,000 people signed a petition calling for Sauvage's release.

President Hollande had issued a partial pardon at the end of January but her subsequent attempts at release were twice rejected by the courts. On Wednesday (28 December), he tweeted: "I've decided to grant Jacqueline Sauvage a pardon of the rest of her sentence. This pardon puts an immediate end to her detention."

She was released from prison on Wednesday, the day after her birthday. In a further statement from the Elysee Palace, President Hollande said Sauvage's place was "no longer in prison, but with her family".

Campaigners, who had staged protests in Paris against the continued imprisonment of Sauvage earlier this month, welcomed the news. Sauvage's lawyer, Nathalie Tomasini, said she was "overcome with joy and emotion". Her daughter told French media: "I'm crying, it's wonderful."

But Virginie Duval, head of the French union of magistrates, complained that the president had acted "to please public opinion." She defended the judiciary's rejection of Sauvage's appeals, saying the courts had followed the law.

Jacqueline Sauvage
People demonstrate in Paris on 10 December to call for the release of Jacqueline Sauvage Getty