A STAND at a rock concert collapsed, injuring 40 people, because of ``an accumulation of mistakes'', a court was told yesterday.

More than 14,000 people were at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, to see Pink Floyd when the stand collapsed.

It was the failure of a single fitting which led to the accident in October 1994, Knightsbridge Crown Court was told.

The venue's owner, Earls Court Ltd; Jonathan Smith, a former director of seating contractor Arena Promotional Facilities Limited; and structural engineer David McCallum have all pled guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act and regulations made under this Act.

Modifications to the stand made it unsafe, the court heard.

Mr Smith failed to carry out a risk assessment that would have shown the inherent dangers, Mr McCallum certified the stand as safe, and Earls Court Ltd did not ascertain that a modification to the seating blocks was being constructed according to plans and specifications, said Mr Philip Kolvin, prosecuting.

The front part of the structure was removed as were some seats, and instead of the front resting on the floor it rested on scaffold boards which rested on a platform, added Mr Kolvin.

``The force placed on the fitting was three times its safe working value, and this amounted to a fundamental design flaw. The stability of this stand rested on a single joint. That joint was not strong enough,'' added Mr Kolvin.

Mr Smith pled guilty to failing to carry out a risk assessment and failing to record the significant findings of the risk assessment. Mr McCallum admitted failing to discharge a duty imposed on him. He should not have certified the entire stand as safe, said the prosecution.

Mr Kolvin said the incident was ``an accident waiting to happen'' and applied for costs in the sum of #108,571.

Mr Jonathan Caplan, QC, representing Earls Court Ltd, described the accident as ``a tragic occurrence'' and said: ``No-one here seeks to minimise the awfulness of that predicament for those involved.''

The venue had an excellent safety record and this was the first accident of its kind, he added.

Earls Court Ltd ``behaved responsibly'' and had no reason to suspect its well tested methods of seating were going to be departed from.

The hearing continues today.