EXCLUSIVE: Previous handler of police dog Jax jailed over sex attack

EXCLUSIVE Revealed: Tragic police dog Jax who was shot dead by armed cops for biting female handler was trained by convicted sex attacker

The police dog which was shot dead after biting its female handler was trained by a convicted sex attacker, MailOnline can reveal.

Armed officers shot dead PD Jax, a six-year-old dog which had served with Lancashire Police for more than five years, after the animal’s handler suffered a leg injury. 

The force said officers were required to kill the animal after it ‘became aggressive’ during a search for a missing person in a village near Preston, Lancashire, this morning. 

Today, MailOnline can reveal that Jax’s previous handler was PC Ernesto Ceraldi, 44, who was jailed for five years and four months last year after pleading guilty to attempted rape and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Ceraldi, a trained marksmen, was a serving officer with Greater Manchester Police with 21 years’ experience and was married with two adult children when he was convicted in June 2022.

PC Ceraldi pictured on duty with Jax before his offence in April last year

PD Jax was six years old when he was shot dead after biting his handler and causing a serious leg injury 

PC Ernesto Ceraldi, a serving officer for 21 years, also pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm on the victim, who is in her 40s

GMP’s website stated Ceraldi and a colleague are trained to attend live firearms incidents along with police dogs Jax (left) and Storm (right) 

Ceraldi, of Darwen, Lancashire, had previously been commended for his police work in the Salford riots in 2011 and at the UEFA Cup final in 2008. 

GMP’s website stated he and a colleague were trained to attend live firearms incidents along with police dogs Jax and Storm.


Preston Crown Court heard how Ceraldi met his victim in a pub on April 1, and they later went to her home where they drank wine and had some consensual sexual activity, before chatting on the sofa. 

The woman said Ceraldi’s attitude changed all of a sudden and he demanded she perform a sex act, before he pushed her against a wall and pulled her hair. 

She described how he throttled her and punched her repeatedly, until she managed to flee the house, where Ceraldi followed ‘completely naked’ and pinned her against a wall outside. A neighbour intervened and took the victim into her own house, where police were called.

When police attended the scene, they found Ceraldi passed out naked on the sofa with one foot inside his jacket, Lancashire Live reports.

Blood spatters were found on the wall and the victim’s hair extensions, which Ceraldi had pulled out, lay on the floor.

Judge Simon Medland KC said: ‘You and your victim had happily been in each other’s company and I have no doubt that your having mentioned you were a police officer and shown the victim pictures of your police dog must have filled her with confidence.’

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she had feared for life as Ceraldi’s hand were around her neck.

She added: ‘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.

A prison van leaves Preston Crown Court after Ceraldi pleaded guilty to attempted rape and GBH

Armed officers shot dead PD Jax, a dog which had served with Lancashire Police for more than two years

Thin Blue Paw Foundation tweeted: ‘We’re deeply sad to learn of the tragic incident which resulted in PD Jax from Lancashire Police being shot at the scene by armed officers’

‘While the bruises and physical effects of that morning have healed, I don’t know if the mental effects ever will.

‘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… Will I ever be able to trust someone who I find pleasant and charming?’

Jax  – a cross between a Belgian Malinois and a Dutch Herder – hit headlines today following new he was sot after attacking his handler.

The dog was specially trained in finding people hiding in water. 


PD Jax had previously sniffed out offenders hiding in the canal, and in 2020 chased down a drunk driver who fled the scene after crashing a car. Last year, PD Jax helped track a vulnerable woman in her 20s who went missing in a mountain range. 

Lancs Police has in the past described Jax as ‘very affectionate with his handler’ and added he could be seen ‘sitting on her knee and wanting cuddles’. 

The two were said to have ‘an extra special bond that couldn’t be broken’, the Lancashire Post reports.

Numerous posts about Jax on Lancs Police Facebook page appear to have been removed following today’s incident.

Last July the dog also caught a driver hiding in bushes who was then arrested for dangerous driving and drug driving without insurance and a licence.

The police dog handler suffered a serious upper leg injury and remains in hospital. 

Police said attempts were made to restrain the dog but these ‘failed’.

The force added: ‘All efforts to restrain the dog failed and given the continuing threat to the injured officer and other patrols, PD Jax was shot at the scene by armed officers, and sadly died.’

Police were searching for a missing person in a field in Walton-le-Dale, when the incident occurred.

Supt Hassan Khan, of Lancashire Police, said the force had been left devastated by what happened and the outcome. 

PD Jax (pictured) was shot dead this morning after he became aggressive and bit his handler

PD Jax was shot dead by police after attacking his handler whilst searching for a missing person in fields near the River Darwen in Walton-le-Dale, Lancashire

Police at the scene on the Holland House estate in Walton-le-Dale, near the River Darwen

Mr Khan said: ‘This is never an easy decision for any officer to take, but police have a duty to act where necessary before any further injury is caused, whether to officers, or members of the public. We would never put anyone at risk of further harm.

‘These are highly trained, working dogs which do a skilled job, but like any dog can present a danger in certain circumstances. 

‘We know how much our dogs are loved by the people of Lancashire and beyond, as well as our own staff.’

He added: ‘Our thoughts are very much with the injured officer while she undergoes treatment for serious leg injuries and she is receiving our full support.

‘Given the circumstances the incident will be reviewed in due course.’

No members of the public were involved in the incident. The force said the missing person was later found safe and well.

Tributes have since poured in for Jax.

The Thin Blue Paw Foundation tweeted: ‘We’re deeply sad to learn of the tragic incident which resulted in PD Jax from Lancashire Police being shot at the scene by armed officers.’

Millie B posted: ‘Heartbreaking… Heartfelt thoughts and sincere condolences for PD Jax’s handler, his family and his colleagues.’

Bekka tweeted: ‘RIP Jax, such very sad news we will remember you for your incredible service – so sad it had to end this way, hope your mum will be alright.

‘Rest in Peace PD Jax, thank you for your invaluable service boy.’


Last week, it was reported Britain’s Got Talent dog Finn died at the age of 14.

The Heroic German Shepherd, who was stabbed multiple times saving the life of his police owner PC David Wardell, made a memorable audition on the ITV talent show. 

The Thin Paw Foundation, a national charity supporting serving and retired police dogs, shared a photograph of the beloved canine and wrote: ‘We’re deeply sad to announce the passing of our Ambassador, Retired Police Dog Finn at the age of 14.

‘He leaves a huge legacy behind, having saved the life of his handler PC Dave Wardell on duty, whilst he himself had been stabbed multiple times.

Sad news: Britain’s Got Talent dog Finn has died aged 14

Canine icon: The Heroic German Shepherd, who was stabbed multiple times saving the life of his police owner PC David Wardell, has passed away

Stand down with pride: The Thin Paw Foundation, who are a national charity supporting serving and retired police dogs, announced the sad news on social, on Friday

‘Following his recovery, Finn and Dave then went on to campaign for Finn’s law which gave greater protection for service animals across the United Kingdom.

‘Our thoughts are with Finn’s family at this very difficult time. Finn, your legacy will live on, may you stand down with pride. RIP Finn, 2009-2023.’

Finn is not the only police dog to have won thousands of hearts thanks to his dedication.

In Omaha, Nebraska, hundreds of mourners paid their respects in 2016 to a fallen police dog, who was shot and killed in the line of duty. 

Kobus, an eight-year veteran with the Omaha Police Department, was killed after being sent in to a standoff by officers. 

Just days before the shooting, Kobus was presented with the U.S. Honor Flag: the first police dog ever to receive the honor. 

The Honor Flag is sent around the country as tribute to those who have lost their lives in the line of duty protecting lives, homes and the country. 

K-9 handlers from across Nebraska came to show officer Matt McKinney, Kobus’s owner, his family and the department their respect. 

Kobus, a nine-year-old Belgian Malinois, had been scheduled to retire just a few weeks before his death.

‘Once he was in the cruiser he was ready to work every day. I’m really going to miss him,’ Officer McKinney said. 

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