Greater Manchester Police officer jailed for 'vicious' attempted rape and assault on woman

A police officer has been jailed for "viciously" attacking and attempting to rape a woman in her own home.

Ernesto Ceraldi, who has since left Greater Manchester Police, met the woman in a pub in Edenfield, in Lancashire, showing her his warrant card and photographs of his police dog to gain her trust.

Preston Crown Court heard Ceraldi, 44, went back to her home on 1 April 2022 where he "viciously" assaulted the woman and attempted to rape her.

David Traynor, prosecuting, said the victim was throttled, punched and had her hair pulled during the attack.

The court heard the defendant’s attitude "changed all of a sudden", and he began to demand she perform a sexual act on him and grabbed her hair.

He pushed her against a wall, causing a picture to fall and smash, and put his hand around her throat, the court was told.

Mr Traynor said: “The pressure was horrific, she nearly stopped breathing.”

He said Ceraldi repeatedly punched her and there was a struggle before she ran to the back door and escaped, being pursued by the defendant who was completely naked.

Mr Traynor said: “She was absolutely terrified and she thought he was going to kill her.”

The woman managed to run out of the house, but Ceraldi chased after her and continued to assault her.

Outside, Ceraldi pinned her against a wall, where a neighbour heard her screaming and helped the victim into her house where they phoned police.

The court heard Ceraldi was found by police sleeping naked on the sofa of his victim’s house, with his leg through the arm of a jacket.

During his police interview, Ceraldi denied assaulting the woman and claimed any sexual contact was consensual.

The victim, who suffered bruising and swelling as a result of the attack, said the mental effects of the attack will 'never heal.'

In an impact statement, she said: "As a police officer I should have been able to trust him without a shadow of a doubt. If I cannot trust a police officer with 21 years of service, who can I trust?"

She added: "I can no longer go out and return home after dark on my own, someone must come into the house with me to put me at ease. 

"I have had to have additional security measures fitted to make me feel safe in the place that I call home and where I am entitled to feel safe."

Ceraldi was given five years and four months in prison after he admitted attempted rape and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Sentencing him, Judge Medland QC said Ceraldi had committed a "grossly serious set of offences".

He added: "You lost control… you placed your hand around her throat and squeezed…she was in genuine fear of her life."

Ceraldi is also subject to sexual offence notification requirements for the rest of his life and also a restraining order.

In mitigation, his defence told the court, Ceraldi was of, "previous good character and was ashamed, shocked and devastated by his actions" which had been committed under the influence of alcohol.

He said: "The actions of the defendant were out of character, they were isolated in nature and engaged through, what must be an aggravating feature, the substantial consumption of alcohol."

Ceraldi had previously been given commendations for his police work in the Salford riots in 2011 and at the Uefa Cup final in 2008, he said.

Howard Gough, District Crown Prosecutor with CPS North West’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit said: "Ernesto Ceraldi carried out a vicious attack on a woman in her own home; a place where she should have been safe.

"I would like to commend her courage in coming forward and speaking about her ordeal, I hope that as Ceraldi begins this prison sentence she can begin to put the trauma behind her and start to move on with her life.

"The CPS are committed to prosecuting those who use violence to control and abuse women and hope this woman’s bravery inspires anyone who has suffered sexual or violent abuse to come forward and see their attackers brought to justice."

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