26 JUNE 2007

Just after midnight the doors of LA's Lynwood correctional facility opened and a visibly relieved Paris Hilton walked free - by her own account a changed woman. The heiress, who commanded as much attention behind bars as she did on the celebrity scene, has declared she now wants "to use her fame in a good way" and plans to open a halfway house for offenders.

Both Kathy and her husband Rick were there to greet the 26-year-old with a big hug as she regained her liberty. With the family limo on hand to whisk her off home, Paris took a moment to greet the waiting crowd, exchanging handshakes and smiles with onlookers.

One of her first engagements is an hour-long appearance on the programme of popular US chatshow host Larry King. There she's expected to relive what were, arguably, the most eventful 23 days of her existence to date.

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After all the tears and fears of recent weeks, the hotel heiress looked relieved to be savouring her first moments of freedom as she paused after leaving the facility to greet fans waiting outside
Photo: ©
It was hugs all round as Paris was reunited with her mum KathyPhoto: © Rex