A WOMAN killed in a car fire set off by an explosion could have moved from the front seat of the vehicle to where her charred body was found in the back seat before she died, the High Court heard yesterday. Forensic pathologist Dr Martin Sage said that in the absence of any evidence that she had been restrained, it was unlikely the woman, whom the court heard died within one to three minutes, had been in the back seat for the entire time. Dr Sage was giving evidence for Chan Sai-kit, who is accused of murdering his wife, Gloria Mak Wai-ngor. He also told the court that if any chloroform had been present, it would have been dispersed by the intense fire and could not be detected. Chan, 44, has pleaded not guilty and is being tried by a jury before Mr Justice Wong. It is the Crown's case that a large insurance policy had been taken out on Mak before the couple, both Canadian citizens, returned to Hong Kong in March 1989. The court also heard that they had made a joint will in which Mak, 40, wanted to include a clause ensuring that if she died suspiciously her death would be investigated. According to Chan, Mak was sitting behind the wheel, helping him repair a car at about 1 am on October 23, 1989, when an explosion occurred, followed by a fire. Mak, whose charred body was found on the back seat of the car, died from burns. A fire-death expert called by the Crown, Professor James Ferris, had testified that Mak must have died within one to three minutes after the fire started. Chan, represented by Gary Plowman QC, elected not to give evidence but called Dr Sage to the stand. Dr Sage accepted there was no opportunity for Mak's body to be moved after the fire, and that she must have died in the back compartment of the car. He agreed with Professor Ferris that there was no sign of any internal injury to show that she had been disabled by an assault or by drugs, alcohol or poison. In response to a question from the jury on whether chloroform would leave any sign in the body after such a fire, Dr Sage said it was unlikely. He said the crucial issue of the case was whether Mak could have moved from the front seat of the car to the back. One could not rule out the possibility that she was sitting in the front seat and after the fire started, she held her breath, dashed out and was able to run a few steps to reach the place where her body was found, he said. Cross examined by prosecutor Gary Alderdice QC, Dr Sage agreed that the evidence could only point to Mak having collapsed and died where she was found. But he rejected the suggestion that it was impossible for her to have moved from the front to the back seat during the fire. The hearing continues on Monday.