The pensioner, who cannot be identified for legal reasons to protect the three victims, was found guilty following a trial of almost 30 offences, including child cruelty, indecent assault and indecency with a child, dating back to the late 1960s.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that his offending took place over a 13-year period and began when the girls were about seven or eight.
Kitty Taylor, prosecuting, told the court said the defendant hit his daughters with a belt, but she submitted it was not a case of over-chastisement of unruly children but gratuitous.
She said the girls, sometimes naked or wearing nightwear, would be put into a cold, dark cellar for up to three hours either alone or together.
“There have been long-term psychological effects,” Mrs Taylor said.
“All three describe essentially a cruel and violent childhood in addition to the sexual abuse they suffered and having to cope with that over a long period of time.”
The 70-year-old pensioner from Bradford was sentenced to a total of five-and-a-half years in jail and was told that he would have to register as a sex offender with the police for the rest of his life.
Judge Jonathan Rose told the defendant that his victims may at last have felt vindicated after the jury returned their guilty verdicts on each one of the charges.
Judge Rose added: “Perhaps today when you are sentenced for your reprehensible, cruel and vile behaviour they will at last see that justice has been done and that you cannot hurt them any more.”
The judge told the court that the victims had shown courage throughout while their father had shown nothing but cowardice, arrogance and a complete absence of remorse.
Judge Rose said the children had been subjected to a form of imprisonment by being detained in the cellar for long periods of time.
And the girls had been demeaned in other ways such as having their hair cut by the defendant, exposing them to ridicule and bullying.
The judge said the defendant had a bullying and overbearing character and he would have received a significantly longer prison term had he not had to sentence him under the old legislation dating from 1956.