A ‘disgraced’ former police officer who was jailed after admitting the attempted rape and assault of a woman has been placed on the College of Policing’s barring list.

Ernesto Ceraldi, from Darwen, a former Greater Manchester Police officer who has since resigned, was jailed for five years and four months at Preston Crown Court in June.

At an accelerated misconduct hearing carried out at GMP Force HQ on Wednesday, October 5, Ceraldi, who was not present and did not offer any submissions in the way of mitigation, but did offer a letter of apology to his victim, was found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour, with the breach amounting to gross misconduct.

Chair of the panel, Chief Constable Stephen Watson, said: “In light of his conviction, I am of course satisfied his conduct has breached the standards of professional behaviour and the breach amounts to gross misconduct.

“Had he not already resigned then the appropriate disciplinary action would have been dismissal.

“His actions were deliberate and carried out in full knowledge, knowing his conduct was unlawful and reprehensible.

“It brings the service into disrepute and damages the trust of the public.

“Offending behaviour against women and girls at the hands of the police has taken on enormous significance in members of the public.

“He has failed to take the opportunity to enter any mitigation on his own behalf, and I cannot find any mitigation in the matter.

“Harm to the reputation of the service is evidently very greatly established, and I reiterate these proceedings are to maintain public confidence in the police and the facts of this case have the grave potential to diminish the confidence.

“The level of seriousness in this case is very high and his behaviour falls well below anything tolerated in the service.

“His reputation now stands disgraced, and he is regarded as a sex offender. He’s lost the confidence and respect of the public and his former colleagues.

“The gravity of the matter is such that had he not already resigned I would have dismissed him from the service with immediate effect.

“His name must now be placed on the College of Policing’s barred list.”

Ceraldi, 45, who was a specialised dog handler, was off duty and with some friends in The Coach pub, Edenfield, on April 1, 2021, when he met his victim.

The woman was also with a group of her friends, and they all started chatting over a drink, with the victim describing Ceraldi as “charming”.

Ceraldi, who is married and has two adult children, told the victim he was a police officer and showed her photos of his police dog which led him to gain her trust.

The pair decided to go back to her house and shared a bottle of wine before engaging in sexual activity, most of which had been consensual.

The victim said she would try and stop Ceraldi when he was pulling on her hair, spitting on her and putting his hands on her throat.

He would stop for a while but then start again.

After this ended, the pair went back to sitting on the sofa together but Ceraldi’s attitude suddenly changed.

He began demanding oral sex, grabbing her hair and pulling her towards him. He started slapping her before he put his hands around her neck and started strangling her.

He kept asking for her to perform oral sex on him and she reminded him about his wife and children.

He pushed her onto the sofa with her head down on the cushions.

During Ceraldi’s sentencing, the court heard how the victim was “absolutely terrified” and thought he was “going to kill her”.

After a struggle, she managed to push Ceraldi away and ran towards the door, grabbing her phone.

While scrambling to unlock the door, he managed to catch up with her and started to pull her hair again but she managed to escape the house in just her vest, followed by a naked Ceraldi.

A neighbour brought the woman to safety and they called the police who found Ceraldi asleep on her sofa with his leg through the arm of a jacket.

Her blood was splattered across the apartment, which her friends later cleaned up for her, and the woman’s hair extensions on the floor.

The former police officer had no previous convictions and had never received a disciplinary in his two-decade long career in the police.

While he was a serving officer, he had served at the UEFA 2008 cup final at the Etihad Stadium and the Salford riots in 2011.

Ceraldi pleaded guilty to attempted rape and assaulting the woman on May 4.

As well as receiving a jail sentence, he was also made subject to a sexual offender notification requirement for the rest of his life and a restraining order was put in place to protect the victim, who said she "should have been able to trust" a police officer.

In September, Ceraldi had his jail term referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

Lawyers representing the Attorney General argued at the hearing that Ceraldi should have received an extended sentence for public protection and the term was not long enough for his offending.

But, in refusing to increase the sentence, Lord Justice Bean said the Crown Court judge was entitled to reach the conclusion not to impose an extended sentence, and also to reflect Ceraldi’s early guilty pleas in the overall term.

Court of Appeal judges concluded the sentence was “not unduly lenient”.