Two men have been found guilty of carrying out a double murder near a school following a dispute over a £15,000 debt.

Married father-of-three Shkelqim Paja, 36, and Arber Fesko, 30, were stabbed to death in Mill Hill on December 19 2019.

Following an Old Bailey trial, Besnik Berisha, 43, and Kiziku Tuwizana, 33, were found guilty of their murders.

Tuwizana was also convicted of having a firearm with intent.

The court heard how terrified members of the public alerted the police to the knife attack, but by the time officers arrived, the bodies were gone.

The victims were bundled into Berisha’s white Peugeot van and Mr Paja’s black Mercedes and driven away.

Among the detritus left on the road were two knives and pools of the victims’ blood, one close to the gates of a school, jurors were told.

Mr Fesko’s body was later found in the boot of the Mercedes at Scratchwood Services, a 10-minute drive away.

The following day, Kosovan Mr Paja was discovered by a jogger dumped in a hedgerow some five miles away.

Prosecutor Jane Bickerstaff QC said Mr Paja had lived near to where he was killed and also owned a one-bedroom flat where Mr Fesko, his wife’s cousin, had lived.

She told jurors that in the lead-up to the killings, Mr Paja had fallen out with Berisha who owed him money.

The debt included a “substantial” outstanding loan in excess of £15,000, it was claimed.

On December 3 2019, Mr Paja had texted Berisha “Hey mate, I need the money”, the court heard.

On December 17, an attempt was allegedly made to enter the flat where Mr Fesko lived.

The day before his death, Mr Paja arranged to meet Berisha and texted him: “Do you have any intention to give that money or not.”

Then on December 19, Berisha phoned Mr Paja and appeared to promise to pay back what he owed that night at 8pm, Ms Bickerstaff said.

That evening, Mr Paja messaged Berisha that he was waiting for him, giving him the postcode of Courtland Avenue, where he was attacked

The defendants were linked to the murders by DNA, jurors were told.

Tuwizana’s DNA was found on a red pocket knife near one of the blood pools while Berisha’s DNA was on an empty knife sheaf.

In his defence, Berisha said he and Tuwizana were involved in “scoping” to steal drugs and money from dealers.

He claimed Mr Fesko became aggressive and blamed him for an earlier attempted burglary at his flat and hit him on the head.

He said that others had then attacked the victims with knives.

Tuwizana said he was going to Colchester to see his girlfriend when he drove the victim’s Mercedes to the service station – with Mr Fesko’s body inside.

He claimed he had suffered a serious knife injury and been knocked out by the victims.

He told jurors he jumped into the Mercedes with the keys in the ignition and drove away, unaware there was a body in the boot.

Berisha, of Barnet, and Tuwizana, of no fixed address, were remanded into custody to be sentenced next Friday.