Greater Manchester Police officer jailed for attacking and attempting to rape a woman in Lancashire

An ex police officer has been jailed for attacking and attempting to rape a woman in Lancashire.

Ernesto Ceraldi was a serving officer with Greater Manchester Police when he used 'appalling levels of violence' in an attempt to rape a woman in Rossendale earlier this year.

The 44-year-old had met his victim in a pub in the village of Edenfield and went back to her home where he viciously assaulted her and attempted to rape her in the early hours of Saturday, April 2.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, managed to get away and ran out of the house but Cerardi chased after her and continued to assault her.

Ernesto Ceraldi 44, who was a serving police officer at the time of the offences, has been jailed for 5 years 4 months for attempted rape and assault occasioning actual bodily harm

Fortunately, a neighbour heard her screams and came to her aid as Ceraldi fled back into the woman’s home, where he was arrested a short time later.

Detectives described the former officer’s ferocious attack as ‘shocking’ and ‘abhorrent’, and his victim says she is now afraid to be alone in her own home.

Ceraldi, who served for 21 years and was a specialist firearms officer and dog handler with Greater Manchester Police, denied assaulting her in his police interview and claimed any sexual contact was consensual.

But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) worked closely with Lancashire police to build a strong case against Ceraldi, giving him no other option but to admit what he had done when he appeared in court.

Today (June 22), he was sentenced at Preston Crown Court to a total of 5 years and 4 months in prison for attempted rape and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. An indefinite restraining order was also made.

The woman, who suffered bruising and swelling, told the court how she has been left traumatised by the attack.

In her victim personal statement, she said: "Whilst the bruises and physical effects of that morning have healed, I don’t know if the mental effects ever will.

"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.”

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Following the sentencing, the Crown Prosecution Service commended the woman for her courage in coming forward and said it hoped her bravery would inspire other victims to seek justice.

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.”

Det Insp Carole Langhorn, of Lancashire Police, added: “This was an abhorrent crime committed against a woman in a place where she was entitled to feel safe.

“The appalling level of violence used by Ceraldi was particularly shocking.

“We have carried out a thorough and detailed investigation to ensure Ceraldi is brought to justice and I would like to thank my colleagues, and those from the Crown Prosecution Service, for their professionalism throughout this case.

“Lancashire Police are committed to protecting women and girls from harm. I hope today’s outcome will encourage other victims of sexual violence and abuse to come forward knowing that they will be listened to, they will be believed and we will put the perpetrator before the courts.”