The jury had previously been told Mr Merrilees stabbed Mr Cornet three times “with severe force”, one of which had piereced his heart.
It happened following a furious row between the pair after a booze-fuelled day out with Mrs Merrilees and Mr Merrilees girlfriend, Rebecca Beveridge.
The defence successfully argued that Mr Merrilees actions were out of self-defence and the jury found him not guilty of murder after five hours and fifty minutes of deliberations.
There were emotional scenes when the verdict was returned, with a tearful Mr Merrilees thanking the jury as he left the courtroom.
During the trial the defence painted a picture of Mr Cornet as a man prone to aggression, drawing attention to a number of past occasions when he had been violent.
See Thursday’s Stratford Herald for the full story on today’s verdict.