VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian police are investigating a man they suspect imprisoned, beat and sexually abused his two daughters over a 40-year period, they said Thursday.
The 80-year-old Austrian, who lives near the northern town of Braunau, kept the women locked in a small kitchen with only a wooden bench as a bed, police said.
"The accused repeatedly threatened to kill them and threatened them with weapons," the police department of the province of Upper Austria said in a statement.
The man banned his daughters from having "any social contact," the statement added, without making clear if they were confined all the time.
The women, now aged 53 and 45, escaped when he tried to rape the elder daughter in May and she fought back. He fell to the ground, could not seek help and was found two days later by a social worker and taken to hospital, the statement added.
It did not give details of the father's whereabouts. Austrian media reported that he was in the hospital of an elderly care home.
The description of the alleged abuse has echoes of the Josef Fritzl incest case which rocked Austria three years ago. Fritzl fathered seven children with his incarcerated daughter before being imprisoned for life in 2009.
Police did not say whether the daughters gave birth to children by their father. The statement, which did not name the man, said he abused them from 1970 to May 2011.
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; editing by Elizabeth Piper)