Chelsea gunman was a top barrister who was a rising star
He tried to send a message to his wife Elizabeth, just before he was killed. He threw a white box into a neighbour's garden on which he had written 'I love my wife dearly xxx'.
Mr Saunders began firing from a window with a shotgun at about 5pm yesterday, following a row with Ms Clarke.
Jane Winkworth lives just below Mr Saunders and his wife, and was working outside in her garden just before 5pm.
The managing director of shoe company French Sole said the high-flying legal couple had bought their flat about 10 months ago.
She described how the barrister had arrived home about an hour beforeand, according to what his wife later told police, had "been drinkingall day".
Ms Winkworth said: "I was doing a spot of gardening and working ondesigns for shoes outside when I heard Mark come in at around 3.45pm.Around half-an-hour to 45 minutes later he shot into the garden.
"I began shouting and screaming at him to stop. At first I assumed hewas using an airgun to shoot at pigeons but after he fired two more Irealised it was a proper gun. When I screamed at him to stop, he didn'tsay anything, it was as though he wasn't listening.
"I ran into my flat terrified and panicking and I phoned the police."
Ms Winkworth said that after police arrived and negotiators were tryingto talk to Mr Saunders, all she could hear was him replying: "I can'thear you mate."
It seems an argument with his wife set him over the edge yesterday and he couldn't come back from that.
He married Elizabeth Clarke, 40, just over a year ago and they paid £2.2million for their flat in Markham Square in October.
The couple were divorce law barristers at Queen Elizabeth Building, a leading chambers for family lawyers. They probably had an income in the region of £300,000 to £500,000 a year.
Golden couple: Barrister Mark Saunders, who was shot dead yesterday, and his wife Elizabeth Clarke
A source at the chambers said: "It's devavastating news. Very sad. Elizabeth is a well known and well liked barrister. A rising star and formidable opponent destined for silk.
"She was single for a long time before she met her husband."
The source added that QEB chambers was well-known for "churning out high-earning barristers", from an Oxbridge background.
"They earn lots of money, from private paid work, representing very high profile clients," the source continued.
"She and her husband are typical of the chambers, Oxbridge graduates from upper-middle-class backgrounds."
Described as "brilliant" by former colleagues, Mr Saunders, 32, who studied law at Christ Church, Oxford, was destined to become a QC within the next few years.
Ms Clarke also studied law at Oxford. Mr Saunders had been active in the Territorial Army during and after his days at Oxford, friends said. One colleague told of his disbelief that Mr Saunders could have been the gunman at the centre of the siege.
The friend, who did not wish to be named, told the Standard: "I can't really believe it. We thought at first he must have been caught in the crossfire. We never imagined he could have been the gunman.
He was incredibly popular. He was a very, very nice chap and the life and soul of the party. He would have made it to QC - no question about it. He could have been a senior judge if he wanted to go down that path, I am sure. He was very active in the TA and used to go off on manoeuvres.
Workplace: The couple were both tenants at QEB Chambers, which is locaed in this building in Central London
"He married Liz just over a year ago and they were family law's golden couple. She is a highly regarded barrister in her own right."
It is thought the couple met through their chambers where Ms Clarke was already well established. The couple previously lived in a maisonette in Oakley Street, close to Albert Bridge, before moving to Markham Square.
QEB was making no official comment today until Mr Saunders had been formally identified but a source spoke of their sorrow and shock.
"We have had no official confirmation," said the source. "We have absolutely no understanding of the circumstances concerning this. It is a private tragedy. Our only thoughts are for his family."