Saunders is the mastermind behind General Koskov's defection, and is a rather typical British bureaucrat. He organized for Koskov to be smuggled from Czechoslovakia into Austria while supervising James Bond on sniper duty. He is offended when Bond changes the escape plan on his own, and fears not getting credit for planning the operation. He later threatens to tell M that Bond missed his shot at Kara Milovy on purpose.
Following up on a lead James Bond gave him, Saunders meets Bond in a café at the Prater in Vienna to brief him on Whitaker and Koskov. His investigations have however made him a threat to Whitaker's plans and so Necros is sent to kill him. His murder is also meant to assure that British intelligence takes the apparently new "Shmiert Shpionam" seriously and falls for Whitaker's and Koskov's trap.
As Saunders leaves the café, Necros, with precision timing, detonates an explosive device in the automatic sliding door, causing the door to slam shut with brute force, crushing Saunders and killing the agent instantly. Bond later finds a balloon saying "Death to Spies" and enraged, bursts it with his bare hands. Bond later avenges Saunders's murder by letting Necros fall to his death out of the back of a Cargo Plane over Afghanistan.