A 53-year-old Surrey, B.C. man has pleaded guilty to gunning down Lisa Dudley and her boyfriend Guthrie McKay at their rural home in Mission more than three years ago.

Jack Woodruff appeared before the victims' crying families in New Westminster Supreme Court Monday, pleading to two counts of first-degree murder. He faces life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

He chose not to address the court.

Dudley's family told reporters outside that Woodruff's plea has helped them achieve a "bit of resolution, a little bit of piece of mind."

"I've spoken to him and he's extremely sorry for what he did. I can't tell you everything that happened in that room when I spoke to him, but he's very remorseful," mother Rosemarie Surakka said. "He asked for my forgiveness, and I gave it to him. And as far as I'm concerned, now he's paying the penalty or the price for what he's done."

A neighbour found Dudley tied to a chair and bleeding heavily from bullet wounds to her head and neck on Sept. 26, 2008, four days after the shooting. Paramedics pronounced McKay dead at the scene; Dudley perished on the way to the hospital.

The case has been a black eye on the local RCMP detachment because of the actions of responding officer Mike White, a constable called to investigate a report of shots fired the night Dudley and McKay were attacked.

He drove to the scene, but never stepped foot outside his squad car after he arrived. White was eventually docked a single day's pay and given a written reprimand following an RCMP disciplinary hearing.

Dudley's family says after three-and-a-half years of "inconsolable grief and anticipation," they are still awaiting an official inquest to be launched in the case.

"Police are supposed to be the good guys, and they should have been there to rescue her," Surakka said.

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed an inquest is planned, but will have to wait for the other two men accused in the murders to stand trial.

Bruce Main, 64, and Justin Andrew MacKinnon, 26, have also been charged with first-degree murder in the case.

Justice Kathleen Ker called the crimes "horrific" and described the families' victim impact statements, which were not heard in court, as "heartbreaking."

"It's not just the victims who've died, it's their families that have been destroyed," she said.

Dudley had been managing a marijuana grow op in the home she and McKay shared when they were attacked, according to a statement of facts entered Monday.

Woodruff admitted he was the designated shooter, and that Dudley was the intended target – though the gunman was prepared to kill McKay as well, if necessary.

According to the admitted facts, Woodruff approached the home from the back deck and fired six shots inside as Dudley and McKay were watching TV. McKay was struck three times, Dudley twice.

Woodruff's lawyer Criag Sicotte said his client regrets his crimes every day, and felt pleading guilty was the right thing to do to "show his family and others that he takes responsibility."

The accused is married with five children and six grandchildren.

In October, Dudley's mother filed a lawsuit against B.C.'s solicitor general, the attorney general of Canada and the district of Mission, alleging that police "caused or contributed to a chain of events" that led to her daughter's death.

She is asking for damages for violations of Dudley's right to life.

Neither Dudley nor McKay had a criminal record.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber