The trial of a man accused of murdering his wife in a car crash heard that a fire in the vehicle was probably started deliberately.
Claire Morris, 32, died when the vehicle she was a passenger in crashed and caught fire in Aberdeenshire in May 1994. Her husband Malcolm Webster is accused of murdering her by drugging her, driving the car off the road and starting the blaze.
The 51-year-old from Guildford in Surrey denies murdering her to cash in more than £200,000 in insurance policies.
The High Court in Glasgow heard that an expert who investigated the fire at the time of the crash concluded there was no evidence of "foul play", and suggested the fire may have been started by a spark.
However, forensics specialist Andrew Wade, who has recently reassessed the evidence, said the fire was probably deliberate.
His report, sections of which prosecutor Derek Ogg QC read to the jury, concluded: "The long delay between the crash and the fire, the presence of additional fuel canisters in the passenger compartment and the inactivity of the passenger Claire Webster in escaping provides strong support for considering this to be a deliberate fire."
The court heard that the blaze in the vehicle apparently started about 20 minutes after the crash. Mr Wade said that if the fire had been caused by an electrical fault this would be likely to have happened almost instantaneously, or within a couple of minutes.
He said there was no evidence to support the idea that the fire was started by a spark, because the vehicle's engine was fitted with a kill switch which operates after an accident.
The court also heard that Ms Morris' body was found in the position a passenger would normally be in, with her buttocks at the back of the seat and the back of her left knee just in front of the edge of the seat. Mr Wade said it had "all the appearance of a fairly natural seated position".
Mr Ogg asked: "Which had not changed in consequence of the collision?" The witness replied: "No." Mr Wade's report found that the most probable cause of the fire was "a deliberate ignition of materials within the engine compartment".
Asked why he had reached this conclusion, he said: "By the process of elimination this seems to be the most probable cause, having considered all the possibilities."
To prepare his report Mr Wade looked at photographs of the crash and statements about the accident, as well as looking at a model of the fuel system of the car.
Webster is also accused of attempting to murder his second wife Felicity Drumm in a deliberate car crash in New Zealand in 1999, in order to try to obtain more than £750,000 worth of insurance money by fraud.
He also faces a further charge of attempting to bigamously marry Simone Banarjee and inducing her to make a will leaving everything to him, as well as lying about having leukaemia.
Malcolm Webster denies the charges. The trial continues.
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