Page last updated at 21:06 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 22:06 UK

Life terms for US rail-crash man

Juan Manuel Alvarez pictured in court, in July 08
Alvarez had said he was trying to kill himself

Judges have handed down 11 life terms to a man who parked his car on a Los Angeles railway line and watched as a packed commuter train smashed into it.

Eleven people died in the January 2005 crash, and Juan Manuel Alvarez, 29, was convicted of their murders.

Judge William Pounders labelled him a remorseless killer and said he would have passed a sentence of "forever" had it been possible.

The sentences are consecutive and he will not be eligible for parole.

Lawyers for Alvarez had argued that he was a deeply disturbed man with a history of abuse who had parked his car on the lines in an attempt to kill himself.

But the jury at his trial two months ago rejected this explanation, convicting him of the killings.

During the sentencing hearing, relatives of those who died in the crash appeared before the court to testify on how the incident had affected their lives.

"I wish you the most miserable life possible," said one witness.

Another said: "Who knows if God will forgive you? I can't."

Alvarez doused his four-wheel-drive in petrol before leaving it on train tracks in suburban Glendale.

It was struck by a Metrolink commuter train, which derailed and hit another train travelling in the other direction on 26 Jan 2005.

As well as 11 fatalities, about 180 people were injured.

Murder charges over LA rail crash
27 Jan 05 |  Americas

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