A man in California has appeared in court over an alleged homophobic attack on a gay couple as they walked their dog.

26-year-old Neoklis Koumides is facing two charges of felony assault after attacking the couple with a hammer on the evening of Wednesday 26 September in Santa Cruz County.

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Mr Koumides and his girlfriend approached the two victims near the San Lorenzo River and yelled anti-gay slurs at them prior to the unprovoked attack.

The female defendant is said to have shouted abuse and watched the violence.

After hearing testimony on Monday, Judge Ariadne Symons determined there was sufficient evidence to hold Mr Koumides on two charges of felony assault.

The suspects rode off on a bicycle but the victims – who declined medical treatment – were later able to identify Mr Koumides as the man they believe attacked them.

Mr Koumides, who remains in custody at Santa Cruz County Jail, is due back in court on 29 October.