A woman who was attacked by a then-serving police officer has spoken of how she thought she was going to die on the night he had tried to force her into sexual activity.

The woman from Edenfield, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she had always been an independent woman but is not worried about how Ernesto Ceraldi, a former Greater Manchester Police officer, may have changed her life forever.

Ceraldi was today jailed for five years and four months for the “prolonged and substantial” attack and attempted rape of the woman.

In an impact statement read out in court, the victim said: “I have always been an independent, resilient, confident woman who has stood on her own two feet all her adult life.

"I have worked hard to get where I am now in my career. I have made myself a lovely home and enjoy the simple luxuries in life of having a nice car and holidays.

“In the early hours of Saturday, April 2, Ernesto Ceraldi changed me and my life.

"During the sustained assault I genuinely feared for my life as his hands squeezed tight around my neck.

"I felt his fist against my face and head as he repeatedly punched me. I clung to my head as he pulled my hair out from the root. I pleaded with him to stop.

“The assault was so violent that my house was left with broken pictures, upturned tables and blood-stained furniture, all needing to be replaced and cleaned. I have had to throw items away that I cannot bare to look at or use again.

“My friends spent hours on their hands and knees cleaning up my blood, however I’m still going to have to have furniture and carpets professionally cleaned.

“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’ve had to have additional security measures fitted to make me feel safe in the place that I call home and where I’m entitled to feel safe.

“Upon first meeting Ernesto Ceraldi, Ernie to his friends, I found him to be very pleasant and charming - how soon that changed. Will I ever be able to trust someone who I find pleasant and charming?

“Whilst currently single, in the future I wish to settle down and have a meaningful, loving relationship. I have no idea how this ordeal has changed me with regards to future relationships and if my idea will ever be possible.

“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?“

Ceraldi had previously pleaded guilty to attempted rape and actual bodily harm. He was sentenced today (June 22) by Judge Simon Medland QC at Preston Crown Court.